Monday, March 27, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found



The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler, March 14, 2017. 176 pages. Published by Candlewick Press. Source: ARC received from publisher.
The exciting true story of the captaincy, wreck, and discovery of the Whydah the only pirate ship ever found and the incredible mysteries it revealed. 
The 1650s to the 1730s marked the golden age of piracy, when fearsome pirates like Blackbeard ruled the waves, seeking not only treasure but also large and fast ships to carry it. The Whydah was just such a ship, built to ply the Triangular Trade route, which it did until one of the greediest pirates of all, Black Sam Bellamy, commandeered it. Filling the ship to capacity with treasure, Bellamy hoped to retire with his bounty but in 1717 the ship sank in a storm off Cape Cod. For more than two hundred years, the wreck of the Whydah (and the riches that went down with it) eluded treasure seekers, until the ship was finally found in 1984 by marine archaeologists. The artifacts brought up from the ocean floor are priceless, both in value and in the picture they reveal of life in that much-mythologized era, changing much of what we know about pirates."
First Sentence

In February 1717, Captain Lawrence Prince was heading home, back to England, on his ship the Whydah, which was loaded with a fortune in gold, silver, and other valuable goods.



To be completely honest, it was not so much the idea of pirates that made me accept The Whydah for review so much as it was about shipwrecks. It must be from living on the coasts as the history of ships wrecked upon coastlines has always, and I mean always, been a source of intrigue for me. Partly because of all that history that is lying under all that water.


  • Oddly enough, I cannot ever recall having heard of the pirate ship Whydah. Although I had heard of Black Sam Bellamy; so it was interesting to learn more about his story and how he quickly rose to infamy upon the seas and then just as quickly disappeared. While I cannot vouch for some of the theories about his pre-pirate days, I do think this book was well researched.
  • For a non-fiction historical, this book was pretty fast paced as the story just whipped along. Martin W. Sandler took off running with his telling of the ship Whydah and its journey from slave trader to that of flag ship of a pirate fleet. I probably already said this but...it was just really a fascinating look into history.

  • As much as I enjoyed reading about the Whydah, there was one thing that I did not like about the book. At times, it felt like the authors obsession with the Whydah and locating it made him, to be blunt, over glorify the life of a pirate. Sure, he touched on the less than refined ways they acted and the perils of piracy; yet, his obsession with finding the ship was, well, it was somewhat excessive. Being passionate about something you enjoy is great and all, but...
  • All in all, it was a truly fascinating read. The story started prior to Sam Bellamy becoming a pirate; it also talked about why so many turned to piracy which was immensely interesting. How pirates chose their targets; as well as what they did not do because movies are not that great at getting the facts correct. Lastly, it covered the efforts that went into discovering the location of the Whydah and what they found.

Final Verdict: The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Lost and Found- Rather exciting look at the history of the Whydah and the search to finally locate the wreck. 

 The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Lost and Found earns


A advanced copy of this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

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