Barbary Pirate: The Life and Crimes of John Ward by Greg Bak

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Greg Bak
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Barbary Pirate: The Life and Crimes of John Ward

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Book review

In 1603 John Ward, a sailor in James VI & I’s navy, led a mass desertion, stole a civilian vessel from Portsmouth, and defected to the Ottoman Empire at Tunis. From there, his unbridled and brutal piracy saw him become the most infamous and feared privateer of his time, revelling in ill-gotten wealth ashore and finally—in the ultimate rejection of his native land—embracing Islam. Seen as a Judas bent on undermining all Christendom, he became a prize with a price on his head and was pursued by pirate-hunters across the Mediterranean. While to his contemporaries Ward was the blackest of villains, to later generations his exploits are the stuff of legend. Greg Bak uncovers the truth and tells the compelling story of a man who rose from nothing to become a brilliant naval commander and a spectacularly successful, if amoral, entrepreneur.


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