Electronic book text
July 22, 2015
9781421417486
English
232
3 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus., 4 line drawings, 1 map
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v2.1 Reference
Hardback
August 31, 2015
9781421417479
English
224
3 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus., 4 line drawings, 1 map
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6.00 Inches (US)
.95 Pounds (US)
.95 Pounds (US)
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v2.1 Reference

Privateering

Patriots and Profits in the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, most clashes on the high seas involved privately owned merchant ships, not official naval vessels. Licensed by their home governments and considered key weapons of maritime warfare, these ships were authorized to attack and seize enemy traders. Once the prizes were legally condemned by a prize court, the privateers could sell off ships and cargo and pocket the proceeds. Because only a handful of ship-to-ship engagements occurred between the Royal Navy and the United States Navy, it was really the privateers who fought—and won—the war at sea.

In Privateering, Faye M. Kert introduces readers to U.S. and Atlantic Canadian privateers who sailed those skirmishing ships, describing both the rare captains who made money and the more common ones who lost it. Some privateers survived numerous engagements and returned to their pre-war lives; others perished under violent circumstances. Kert demonstrates how the romantic image of pirates and privateers came to obscure the dangerous and bloody reality of private armed warfare.

Building on two decades of research, Privateering places the story of private armed warfare within the overall context of the War of 1812. Kert highlights the economic, strategic, social, and political impact of privateering on both sides and explains why its toll on normal shipping helped convince the British that the war had grown too costly. Fascinating, unfamiliar, and full of surprises, this book will appeal to historians and general readers alike.

About the Author

Faye M. Kert is an independent historian who earned her PhD from the University of Leiden. She is the author of Trimming Yankee Sails: Pirates and Privateers of New Brunswick and Prize and Prejudice: Privateering and Naval Prize in Atlantic Canada in the War of 1812.

Reviews

"Kert has accomplished a great deal in a short space. Her notes, tables, and charts are jewels in themselves. . .[her] book points the way forward, providing a wealth of information that will guide future scholars navigating privateer waters."—H-Net Reviews

". . .a fine study. . ."—Journal of America's Military Past

"A prodigious body of empirical research is distilled into a concise and pointed account that will appeal to scholars, military professionals, and educated laymen alike."—Canadian Military History

"Kert noted that there hasve been more than 400 books published on the maritime War of 1812. Do we need yet another? . . . The answer is yes. Kert's work, Privateering: Patriots and Profits in the War of 1912, capably fills the gap and adds a valuable chapter to the literature of the war."—Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society News

"Kert's work has opened an invaluable window into the lives of the entrepreneurial warriors who played a critical, yet poorly understood, role during the War of 1812. Solidifying the importance of her work, Kert added a valuable essay on the archival and secondary sources of privateering during the War of 1812 and has published her database of ships and individuals involved in privateering on the website of her publisher, allowing future scholars to build upon her scholarship."—New England Quarterly

"Privateering during the War of 1812 has long needed a modern historical perspective. Canadian historian Faye Kert has done an admirable job in documenting how the United States and Britain mobilized and regulated privateering during the War of 1812. She demonstrates concisely how it worked as both a risky business venture and as a means of waging war on the high seas."—William Sheldon Dudley, author of Maritime Maryland: A History

9781421417479 : privateering-kert
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