I had never considered the business aspects of pirating until I read Katherine Howe’s newest book, A True Account: Hannah Masury’s Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself. Dreams, mission statements, culture building, profit sharing, and a code of conduct and core values are some business aspects we learn in this fast-moving novel I read in two evenings. Katherine discusses the characters and the dual timelines in this historical novel set in the 1600s and 1930s.
- Katherine’s three-step process to writing fiction and the software she uses to create timelines.
- While Hannah had no sailing experience, that’s not true for the author.
- Reasons moviegoers and fiction readers romanticize the golden era of pirates.
- The reason for the book’s name.
- The floating world of pirates included a form of corporate governance.
- The reason people would turn to pirating.
- Pirates were economically dependent on the slave trade.
- Gibbetting, did we really do that in the 1600s?
- The reason people flocked to public hangings.
- Mark’s opinion of the ending – Katherine got it right. Was that hard?
- The antique spelling for pirates is not p-i-r-a-t-e-s.
- Katherine’s next book, The Penguin Book of Pirates.
- Pirate captains needed the right crew and had to get the culture right.
- A business of risk, reward, capital, tools, labor, missions, and goals.
- Organization based on a set of articles.
- The role of insurance in pirating.
- The reason many captains did not want married men on their crews.
- A brief discussion of Astor, the book Katherine co-wrote with Anderson Cooper.
- Fiction or non-fiction, what’s easier to write?
- The reason Katherine never forgets the characters she writes about.
- Being a sailor, Samuel Johnson had noted, was like being in prison with the added possibility of being drowned. Page 69
- To a man each of us, save me, had lived on board ships longer than we had lived any one place on land. Page 81
- But I discovered that life aboard a pyrate ship unfolded along a delicate balance of self-determination, uneasy trust, barely restrained violence, and something like faith. Page 83
- He that shall have the Misfortune to lose a Limb in time of Engagement, shall have the Sum of Six hundred pieces of Eight, and remain aboard as long as he shall think fit. Article VI, Page 84
- Ned Low’s refusal of married men wasn’t a sign of any tenderness he might nurse in his secret heart. It was just the opposite. Ned Low knew how to guarantee himself a crew of men with nothing left to lose. Page 89
We celebrate pirates because of their promise of liberation. The organization of a pirate ship was a radical departure from the rigid hierarchies of the land, hierarchies of race and class and sex and everything else. On the land, everyone had a place, but the sea cares little for social distinctions. The Articles, as represented here, reflect the real history of the proto-democratic self-determination of pirate crews.Author’s Note, Page 270
- The Wager by David Grann
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
- A Voyage For Madmen by Peter Nichols
- Mark’s pick, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Who Is Katherine Howe?
Katherine is no stranger to the show. We discussed Vanderbilt on her first appearance, the book she co-wrote with Anderson Cooper. Her second book with Anderson, Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune, was released two months before this episode was released.
Katherine is also the author of several novels for adults and young adults and has edited two volumes of primary sources for Penguin Classics.
What Happened to the Vanderbilt Dynasty?
The Beatles and Economics