In this lively narrative history, Robert H. Patton, grandson of the World War II battlefield legend, tells a sweeping tale of courage, capitalism, naval warfare, and international political intrigue set on the high seas during the American Revolution. Patriot Pirates
highlights the obscure but pivotal role played by colonial privateers in defeating Britain in the American Revolution. American privateering-essentially legalized piracy-began with a ragtag squadron of New England schooners in 1775. It quickly erupted into a massive seaborne insurgency involving thousands of money-mad patriots plundering Britain's maritime trade throughout Atlantic. Patton's extensive research brings to life the extraordinary adventures of privateers as they hammered the British economy, infuriated the Royal Navy, and humiliated the crown.
“Entertaining and enlightening. . . . [Patton] has dug deep into Revolutionary War-era records and writes with verve.”–The Washington Post Book World“The British had always accused us of being pirates and thieves. Robert Patton’s fascinating account of privateering during the American Revolution nicely proves their point.”–Winston Groom“Wonderfully told.” –The Hartford Courant“Intriguing. . . . Lively and instructive. . . . Patriot Pirates is not ‘revisionist’ or ‘alternative’ history. What it offers is neglected history, the study of a crucial theater of the Revolution that has been overlooked, perhaps because it lacks the mythic cutouts we like to champion on the Fourth of July.”–The Washington Times“Having, as an Englishman, been brought up on Hornblower and Nelson, I was fascinated to read Robert Patton’s Patriot Pirates and to discover what I never knew about the American Hornblowers–the privateers of the Revolutionary War and their extraordinary adventures. For all those who love history and the sea, this is soul-stirring stuff, as good as reading a Patrick O’Brian novel, except that every word is true.”–Michael Korda, author of Ulysses S. Grant and Ike“A fascinating account that would make an exciting television series. . . . [Patton] has done great work to bring this story to life.”–Proceedings Magazine (U.S. Naval Institute)“Patton gives an absorbing exhumation of an undersung subject that will be of particular interest to Revolution buffs.”–Publishers Weekly“In this deeply considered book, based on overlooked primary sources, Robert H. Patton illuminates the raucous, illicit origins of our American democracy. The privateers of the Revolution operated in a twilit world of idealism and greed, launching the new nation on the double edge that would thereafter define it. Many familiar names–the Browns of Providence, the Cabots and Derbys of Salem, the Binghams and Franklins of Philadelphia–appear here in unfamiliar, less admirable ways. With neither rancor nor illusions, Patriot Pirates reminds us again of the mystery and unpredictability of true history.”–Stephen Fox, author of Wolf of the Deep: Raphael Semmes and the Notorious Confederate Raider CSS Alabama“A fascinating case study in free enterprise. . . . Patton’s book is an eye-opener”–The Georgetown Record (Massachusetts)“A well-written examination of an obscure aspect of American military history.”–Booklist“Illuminating. . . . A pleasing mixture of high-seas adventure and shrewd analysis.”–Kirkus Reviews