Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate ShipPirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This swashbuckling pirate story has the advantage of being factual. Two deep sea divers found The Golden Fleece, the ship of pirate captain Joseph Bannister, in 2009. This book tells the tale of these modern day treasure hunters in a fast-paced, edge-of-the-chair thrill ride. Stylistically it’s not perfect. The author piles on the hyperbole. Everything and everyone is the most ___ in the world (fill in the blank: dangerous, incredible, respected, difficult, successful, etc.) Still, the divers and their story are amazing and worthy of most of it. They grew up in different worlds, one middle class, the other working class, a butcher’s son in Staten Island where he became a loan shark in high school and was mentored by a Mafia underboss, then became a policeman. The other was a medic in Vietnam then an industrial diver. Both loved history and the sea. The world these guys live in is not for pansies. It’s populated by tough guys who fight, scream, threaten, swear a blue streak, and compete mercilessly with each other. They go through marriages the way most people go through running shoes. When you read of all the frustrations and near misses, the tons of money poured into such searches, your jaw will hit the floor. And then if they actually find anything, the legal battles. [Expletive deleted]! How anyone continues on these quests is beyond comprehension.

Then there’s the little-known story of Joseph Bannister himself, perhaps the most successful pirate in the world (oops, I did it, too) during the golden age of piracy. It is told with an undisguised admiration and enthusiasm.

I listened to this book as an audiobook. The narrator did an excellent job of building excitement although he, too, may have gone overboard a tad. I couldn’t wait to pop the next CD in.

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