Review: Plumed Tricorn Hat

Rating: ★★★★★
Center Stage Costumes

I’ve stated before my belief that a pirate needs a hat – it’s just a matter of which kind. Some hats, such as the red knit cap, were meant for cabin boys – simple and plain. And other hats are meant for rough’n’tumble, working-class pirates who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, a ‘la Jack Sparrow’s crumpled tricorn. But that’s not you – you’re a SUCCESSFUL pirate, lounging about your galleon oozing contempt for Spaniard and commoner alike. And you’d never even think of ruining your manicure by working – if treasure needs to be buried, well, that’s what crewmen are for (you can always slaughter them afterwards, aye?) Continue reading

Review: Drake

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Drake: The Life and Legend of an Elizabethan Hero
by Stephen Coote

Perhaps unlike any other pirate in history, Sir Francis Drake enjoys a near sterling reputation. A British national hero as well as skilled navigator and explorer, it’s easy to see why Drake is difficult to place in the same category as the likes of Blackbeard, Kidd, or the Lafittes. That he sat rather comfortably beneath the umbrella of “privateer” rather than overt piracy only keeps the tarnish off his name all the more.

Author Stephen Coote follows Drake from his early years serving under John Hawkins, through his circumnavigation of the globe aboard the “Golden Hind,” his famous knighting, and on to his eventual death. Drake’s life is already a thoroughly written subject, and as such few major points will be new to the well-read pirate-enthusiast, although Continue reading

Review: Scurvy

Rating: ★★★★☆
by Stephen R. Bown

Scurvy! Say it with me now – Scurvy! Few words seem so salty and piratey, and it’s downright fun to say. But what exactly is it?

Stephen R. Bown covers the story of scurvy and the quest for its cure by tracing the efforts of three distinct individuals – James Lind, James Cook, and Gilber Blane (the surgeon, the captain, and the gentleman, respectively.) These men’s stories each make for a gripping read, and together they tell a fascinating tale about a terrible affliction that not only crippled its individual victims, but entire navies as well. Throughout most of history, long voyages manned by malnourished sailors short on Vitamin C inevitably gave way to a variety of dreaded symptoms, from spongy, bleeding gums to decades old wounds reopening. It’s easy to see how scurvy rose to such infamy, especially in days before nutrition was widely understood, and its cause was routinely attributed to unrelated factors such as poor sanitation or impurity of thought. Continue reading