Q&A: Were Modern Ideas—and the American Revolution—Born on Ships at Sea?
Unsung heroes of the seas—how pirates, slaves, and motley crews shaped the modern world.
We're used to thinking that big ideas are dreamed up on land by philosophers and writers anchored to their desks.
In his new book, Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail, Marcus Rediker, distinguished professor of Atlantic history at the University of Pittsburgh, turns that assumption upside down, showing that many of the ideas that shaped the modern world were, in fact, born on the ocean waves among sailors, pirates, and slaves.
Here he explains how Johnny Depp got it wrong, why Horatio Nelson can be regarded as a "maritime criminal," and how a motley crew in Boston inspired Samuel Adams to coin one of the defining phrases of the