Friday Face-Off: The Most Notorious Pirates


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

Lynn already posted with Peter Pan, but I thought back to my pirate-fandom days…and thought of A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates by Captain Charles Johnson.  I bought a copy back when I was writing a novel about the Golden Age of Piracy, and the history of the book is as interesting as the book itself.  Published in 1724 (so, pretty much in the last years of the Golden Age itself), it’s the source material for most of the famous myths about pirates.  Plus, no one really knows who the author was!  Some theories say it was secretly Daniel Defoe, but there’s hot debate on the subject.

Despite the book’s long history, I found only a few covers readily available–this is the first time LibraryThing has let me down for this meme!

This seems a pretty standard piratical cover, with sailing ships and a looming skull.  Though the double S in Johnson (not seen anywhere else I’ve read about) is a little questionable…

This one seems to rather telegraph the ending of many of the stories…!


Simple and direct, but there’s something a bit gruesome about that actual skull and crossed bones…

Image result for a general history of the pirates charles johnson

This is the cover on my copy, and my favorite–it’s dramatic and colorful, while still suggesting the age of the book in the art style.

What book comes to mind when you try to think of one with pirates on the cover?

2 thoughts on “Friday Face-Off: The Most Notorious Pirates

  1. That cover with the gallows – definitely should come with a spoiler alert.
    I love pirate stories but when it came to this week’s theme it was touch tbh. Treasure Island is what I wanted to go with but I know I’ve used that before for something.
    Lynn 😀

  2. I actually like the very simple cover with the skull and crossbones. But then, I’m a minimalist at heart. 🙂 That IS the universal symbol of pirates and I don’t think it’s too gruesome since it’s been in use for so long that it loses some of that type of impact.

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