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The New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Map and How We Got to Now returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Most confrontations, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet. Henry Every was the seventeenth century's most The New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Map and How We Got to Now returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Most confrontations, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet. Henry Every was the seventeenth century's most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular--and wildly inaccurate--reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every's most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event--the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew--and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It's the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century. Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson's classic non-fiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.


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The New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Map and How We Got to Now returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Most confrontations, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet. Henry Every was the seventeenth century's most The New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Map and How We Got to Now returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Most confrontations, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet. Henry Every was the seventeenth century's most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular--and wildly inaccurate--reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every's most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event--the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew--and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It's the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century. Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson's classic non-fiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.

30 review for Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt

  1. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    I really enjoyed reading Johnson's Ghost Map for my global health course in university, and his writing shines again in his newest work! In his author note, Johnson links this work with Ghost Map, noting how both follow a single thread to pull together seemingly disparate topics to show how a certain event can have global consequences, even spanning centuries after the event originally took place. That was one of my favorite aspects of reading Ghost Map, and I am so happy to say that Johnson has I really enjoyed reading Johnson's Ghost Map for my global health course in university, and his writing shines again in his newest work! In his author note, Johnson links this work with Ghost Map, noting how both follow a single thread to pull together seemingly disparate topics to show how a certain event can have global consequences, even spanning centuries after the event originally took place. That was one of my favorite aspects of reading Ghost Map, and I am so happy to say that Johnson has done it again! Enemy of All Mankind is a thrilling and expansive read, taking us from the dreary landscape of London, to Spain, Madagascar, India and the Bahamas, following the events catalyzed by Henry Every's raid on the Gunsway. After staging a mutiny aboard a merchant ship, Every leads a large group of pirates on a journey that ends with them getting away with the equivalent of around $20 million in today's currency of goods from a large, armed, merchant ship owned by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. What might simply be viewed as an astounding heist is broken apart to reveal its effects on the expansion of the British colonial empire to India. While Johnson writes a very exciting account of Every's exploits as a pirate, he does not shy away from the more unsavory details of his crimes. Johnson shines a light on the religious hate crimes, sexual assault and xenophobia committed by Every and his crew. He also gives attention to the Mughal women who were aboard the Gunsway when it was ransacked by Every's crew. These women were sexually assaulted in such harsh fashion that many of them committed suicide rather than bear witness, or be assaulted themselves. Johnson handles these crimes with sensitivity, and questions how the historical record has ignored the stories of these women and other minorities who were impacted by Every's crimes. While there is little information available about what happened to these women (and the 90 slaves later purchased by Every after the heist), Johnson offers ideas as to what might have happened, backing up his conjecture with contextual historical evidence. This could easily get out of hand, with pages and pages of conjecture, but Johnson knows how to limit himself, and writes just enough to make us curious. Throughout this book, Johnson utilizes this structure to fill some of the holes left by history, and the understandably thin historical record on Every and the crimes he committed. This is a really great work of historical non-fiction that should garner anyone's attention, regardless of whether they have any interest in pirates or not. It is thrilling, intriguing, infuriating, and enlightening all at once. I learned many interesting tidbits, and am super excited to shove this in the hands of anyone who shows ANY vague interest in this topic. Thank you to Riverhead Books for kindle providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Enemy of All Mankind will be published on May 12, 2020!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stacie C

    Bringing to life the story of a notorious pirate to a modern audience isn’t an easy task. We’re too used to the comfort of easy travel, the mythos of pirates and the commercialized imagery produced by movies and television. Images of Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver have been part of entertainment for so long that the idea of true piracy and all it’s ruthlessness has almost been washed away. It isn’t until you’re able to wash away the false images and submerge yourself into the actual history t Bringing to life the story of a notorious pirate to a modern audience isn’t an easy task. We’re too used to the comfort of easy travel, the mythos of pirates and the commercialized imagery produced by movies and television. Images of Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver have been part of entertainment for so long that the idea of true piracy and all it’s ruthlessness has almost been washed away. It isn’t until you’re able to wash away the false images and submerge yourself into the actual history that you can see piracy for it’s truly brutal nature. It also brings up many questions about governments, laws, corporations, scandal, colonization and other factors that allowed piracy to flourish and exist in the manner that it did for so long. Piracy didn’t exist in a bubble. Enemy of All Mankind takes the story of one pirate, who helped usher in the Golden Age of Piracy, and examines the factors leading up to his captaincy, the heist that would make him infamous, the interests of the East India Trading Company in the matter and England's attempt to make his crew an example, all for him to never be seen or heard from again. This is the story of Henry Every. When I first began this book, I must admit that Henry Every is not a name I was at all familiar with. Charles Vane, Anne Bonny, Jack Rackham and Blackbeard are some of the names that would immediately come to mind if asked about notorious pirates. So reading about this history of Every was enlightening, in many ways. This book sheds such a light on the historical events happening around Every, while managing to focus the story on the life of the pirate and how he was able to pull off the heist and gain notoriety. Every’s story can’t be told without mentioning the East India Trading company, the Mughal Dynasty, England’s response and the effect of the press. All of these elements have to be woven together to bring weight to Every, his disappearance and the age of piracy that would come after him. I mentioned earlier how difficult it could be to completely submerge someone of the modern era, successfully into this historical era. In the hands of someone less talented than Johnson it may have been impossible, but he does a great job relaying this story. Told in a fashion that takes into consideration the scope of the changing times, the corruption at hand and the immensity of the oceans, Johnson takes all of the threads and creates a tapestry that is scary to imagine and frank in its descriptions. He doesn’t glamorize piracy, but lays out its true nature and the nature of those that benefited from it. In short, I thought this book was great and think that if you are at all interested in the history of piracy, then this is a book you'll want to read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    I expected a fun red and a huge does of historical thoughtfulness and thread-connecting and that's exactly what Johnson delivered. He used a shockingly violent English Pirate attack on a Mughal Indian treasure ship to weave together threads around the spread of Islam; the creation and self-sustaining logic of stock corporations; the ascendancy of European Imperialism; the breakdown of class systems and the beginnings of the ideals of individual liberty; the creation of celebrity journalism; and I expected a fun red and a huge does of historical thoughtfulness and thread-connecting and that's exactly what Johnson delivered. He used a shockingly violent English Pirate attack on a Mughal Indian treasure ship to weave together threads around the spread of Islam; the creation and self-sustaining logic of stock corporations; the ascendancy of European Imperialism; the breakdown of class systems and the beginnings of the ideals of individual liberty; the creation of celebrity journalism; and the continuing abuse of legal power by governments to promote their larger interests. Like all good history, Johnson not only told us what happened an what the evidence does or does not say, but he also tells us why it matters, what forces came together to create those conditions, and and how it influences us today. *I was given an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Al

    The subtitle may be true, but as is often the case, the content doesn't quite live up to the billing. The story is nominally about Henry Every, one of the major players of the piratical age. He's not frequently featured in modern works on piracy, probably because his career was a brief one. He and his crew pillaged only two ships, but one of them was a huge Indian ship crammed with wealth and women. They raped the women and stole the wealth. Every himself was never located, but a group of his c The subtitle may be true, but as is often the case, the content doesn't quite live up to the billing. The story is nominally about Henry Every, one of the major players of the piratical age. He's not frequently featured in modern works on piracy, probably because his career was a brief one. He and his crew pillaged only two ships, but one of them was a huge Indian ship crammed with wealth and women. They raped the women and stole the wealth. Every himself was never located, but a group of his crew were caught, tried in London and executed. That's it. Johnson drags the story out, and while it's interesting, I don't think it's enough to make a book. To me, the really interesting parts of the book (which make it worth a three star rating) were the ones in which he describes the growth of classic piracy, the pirate culture, and its effect on the popular mind at the time. Piracy has lost its luster now, but at the time it captured the public's imagination. One might say that for a time, pirates were the 17th century equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joe M

    4 swashbuckling staaarrrs! 

  6. 4 out of 5

    jeremy

    understanding that egalitarian ethos is essential to understanding why pirates like henry every were so popular at home. they were not just charismatic rogues, pursuing a life of adventure at sea. they were also advancing populist values that had almost no equivalent on the mainland. steven johnson's newest book, enemy of all mankind, is the intriguing true tale of piracy, empire, and burgeoning capitalism — set at the end of the 17th century and traversing the entire globe. crime and commerc understanding that egalitarian ethos is essential to understanding why pirates like henry every were so popular at home. they were not just charismatic rogues, pursuing a life of adventure at sea. they were also advancing populist values that had almost no equivalent on the mainland. steven johnson's newest book, enemy of all mankind, is the intriguing true tale of piracy, empire, and burgeoning capitalism — set at the end of the 17th century and traversing the entire globe. crime and commerce loom large in johnson's story of legendary pirate henry every. the ghost map author deftly portrays the era, as well as the resounding legacy these historical happenings had on the world. to make sense of the pirates—and of henry every most of all—we have to adopt a similar split consciousness. they were heroes to the masses. they were the vanguard of a new, more equitable and democratic social order. and they were killers and rapists and thieves, enemies of all mankind. 3.5 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    There is too much exaggeration and too many hypotheticals for my taste. This could be an interesting story, but not with the little hard information we seem to have available. Surprisingly, the fictionalized parts of the story, like Johnson's narration of the original mutiny, are not well written. Johnson tries to imitate a thriller, and it doesn't come off. > Every's crimes on the Indian Ocean ultimately helped define and fortify institutions that would come to dominate the modern world. Thanks There is too much exaggeration and too many hypotheticals for my taste. This could be an interesting story, but not with the little hard information we seem to have available. Surprisingly, the fictionalized parts of the story, like Johnson's narration of the original mutiny, are not well written. Johnson tries to imitate a thriller, and it doesn't come off. > Every's crimes on the Indian Ocean ultimately helped define and fortify institutions that would come to dominate the modern world. Thanks to Samuel Annesley's ingenuity, the Gunsway affair would give the East India Company new powers that would ultimately lead to their imperial rule over the subcontinent; the contretemps with Aurangzeb forced the British government to clarify its long-ambiguous legal attitude toward piracy in international waters. … Every's story also lit a different fuse: the deeply populist vision of a society where the stratifications of wealth and privilege could be replaced by a much more equitable form of social organization. > In 1631, a Barbary pirate raid on the small Irish village of Baltimore in County Cork in the dead of night absconded with almost a hundred people, half of them children, all of whom were sold into slavery back in Algiers. Fourteen years later, two hundred forty English citizens living on the Cornish coast were captured and enslaved > His father's terminal illness turned out not to be terminal at all. Shah Jahan lived for another eight years after his son clawed his way onto the Peacock Throne. That was eight years too many for Aurangzeb. He condemned his father to spend the rest of his life imprisoned in the Red Fort at Agra, with only a distant view of the Taj Mahal through his cell window > A little more than half a century after the Spanish Expedition left London, sailors would stage one of the first general strikes in labor history. The word "strike" itself derives from their strategy of "striking," or lowering, the sails of anchored ships as a sign of their refusal to work > Henry Every and his men adopted a simpler structure: two shares for Every, one share for everyone else. … Consider the opening line of the Roberts articles: "Every man shall have an equal vote in the affairs of moment." The pirates encoded these democratic principles into their constitutions almost a century before the American and French Revolutions. > "Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately." Pirate communities built insurance into their constitution … All these elements combined—an onboard democracy, with separation of powers; equitable compensation plans; insurance policies in the event of catastrophic injuries—meant that a pirate ship in the late 1600s and early 1700s operated both outside the law of European nation-states and, in a real sense, ahead of those laws > in order to maximize both agility in the water and manpower on board, most pirate captains disavowed their exclusive quarters and slept with the rest of the crew belowdecks. The egalitarian ethos of the pirate community extended to the architecture of the ship itself. > Accused of crimes against humanity, accused of violating the property and the direct relations of the Grand Mughal of India, the six men were found by the jury of their peers to be innocent of all charges. Even Henry Every—"not taken" but charged with the crimes nonetheless—had been exonerated. … Instead of accusing them of robbing the Gunsway, what if the state centered its argument on the theft of the Charles II? The men had been acquitted of piracy, but the state could still charge them with mutiny. > Aurangzeb would go on to outlive many of his descendants, dying in 1707 at the age of eighty-nine. In his final years, the Universe Conqueror sensed that the Mughal dynasty was on unstable ground. "After me, chaos," he is said to have predicted. It turned out to be an accurate forecast. For fifty years after his death, the Indian state was characterized by a "a string of weak emperors, wars of succession, and coups by noblemen." All the while, the East India Company consolidated its power over the region, culminating in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, after which the corporation assumed official control of the subcontinent, an administrative reign that would last for a hundred years.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy Rae

    Did I love it because it was actually good, or did I love it because I waited months for it (I think I preordered it in December or January?) and then received it in the middle of a fucking pandemic and really, really needed something to be worthwhile? It's very narrative, it offers a lot of suppositions in addition to its actual facts, and yet I loved it. I thought it was well-read, and the text was quite approachable. I can't judge whether it did a good job with the Mughal Empire parts of the h Did I love it because it was actually good, or did I love it because I waited months for it (I think I preordered it in December or January?) and then received it in the middle of a fucking pandemic and really, really needed something to be worthwhile? It's very narrative, it offers a lot of suppositions in addition to its actual facts, and yet I loved it. I thought it was well-read, and the text was quite approachable. I can't judge whether it did a good job with the Mughal Empire parts of the history--it's the first I've read anything on the subject--but I'd love to learn more about Aurangzeb and his dynasty in the future. I don't remember when I actually finished it. Time is a flat circle.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Johnson does a great deal with a little (scattered pieces of evidence with missing material) to sketch the great accomplishment of a largely unknown pirate—maybe the greatest single exploit ever carried out by a pirate. He provides an interesting read with many an aside, and gets the pieces to overlap and reinforce each other.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt by Steven Johnson is a very highly recommended account of Henry Every, the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. "In the case of these two ships confronting each other in the Indian Ocean, those nearly microscopic causes will trigger a wave of effects that resonate around the world. Most confrontations like this one, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt by Steven Johnson is a very highly recommended account of Henry Every, the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. "In the case of these two ships confronting each other in the Indian Ocean, those nearly microscopic causes will trigger a wave of effects that resonate around the world. Most confrontations like this one, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet. This is the story of one of those strikes." In September 1695, English pirate and mutineer Henry Every, captain of the Fancy, attacked and seized a Grand Mughal treasure ship returning to India from Mecca. This act, one of the most lucrative crimes in history (about $20 million today), had global ramifications and sparked the first international manhunt and the trial of the 17th century. Every's name is even somewhat disputed. It may have been "John Avery" but he also briefly went by Benjamin Bridgeman. It is agreed that he was born near Plymouth, in Devonshire, on the southwest coast of England in the late 1650s. Johnson also covers the history of piracy before Every, starting with the Sea People in the Bronze Age, up to Every's act that triggered of a major shift in the global economy in the emerging power of the expanding British Empire, the East India Company, and the modern global marketplace. While the British Crown put a huge price on Every's head, only five of his crew were arrested, tried twice, and hanged. Every's daring piracy and escape also marked the spread of his fame as a working class hero. He and his crew became celebrities of a sort and legends, even inspiring a song. As expected, Enemy of All Mankind is a fascinating, well-researched, and thoroughly enjoyable account of a little known pirate and the repercussions of his actions. I completely enjoyed reading this detailed examination of how one act of piracy placed in a historical context reverberate across centuries and had far-reaching consequences. Like Johnson's other books, this narrative is highly readable making it interesting to both the curious and history buffs and shows how one event can result in lasting, far-reaching consequences. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2020/0...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Funston

    How does one extraordinary life and a few decisions and moments of luck within that life change the world? In Steven Johnson's newest book, about the life of Henry Every (Henry Avery), ponders the question and those related to it. It is a book about Henry Every's short-lived reign of terror in and around the Indian Ocean, but it is also the story of the growing power of the East India Company and ultimately the beginnings of English control of the subcontinent. I really enjoyed this book and have How does one extraordinary life and a few decisions and moments of luck within that life change the world? In Steven Johnson's newest book, about the life of Henry Every (Henry Avery), ponders the question and those related to it. It is a book about Henry Every's short-lived reign of terror in and around the Indian Ocean, but it is also the story of the growing power of the East India Company and ultimately the beginnings of English control of the subcontinent. I really enjoyed this book and have become a big fan of Johnson's style of telling a specific, character-focused narrative while illuminating appropriately related tangents. Though Every operated before the Golden Age of Piracy (mostly Carribbean) in the early 1700s, his methods and actions were part of a long line of piracy that goes back to the Sea Peoples of the late Bronze Age. Johnson connects the dots and sees in Every a specific turning point, one that comes to a head based on the growing interconnectedness of global trade and politics. He mulls over questions such as why Frances Drake was knighted while Every was condemned and sees in Every's actions the spark that ultimately led to British control of India. I especially appreciated how Johnson tells Every's story. Telling the truth of both his charisma and his rapacious (literally) character. Every is the main character of the narrative and, though the world changed around and because of him, he is not a hero.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thaths

    The premise of the book is interesting. But I cannot take it seriously when there are such blatant errors in the book. I loved 'Ghost Map'. But after reading this book, I am beginning to question what kind of shallow research the author used in writing that book. If the author doesn't know or understand the difference between Babur and Akbar (repeatedly using the formers name to refer to the latter), or that India is in South Asia (not South East Asia), I wonder what else the author gets wrong in The premise of the book is interesting. But I cannot take it seriously when there are such blatant errors in the book. I loved 'Ghost Map'. But after reading this book, I am beginning to question what kind of shallow research the author used in writing that book. If the author doesn't know or understand the difference between Babur and Akbar (repeatedly using the formers name to refer to the latter), or that India is in South Asia (not South East Asia), I wonder what else the author gets wrong in the areas I am not well versed in. In short, this book was a good reminder for me of Gell-Mann Amnesia.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Devlin

    Like many of these type of history pamphlets, this book is long on supposition and tangent and short on verifiable fact. However, the author’s engaging and the story has enough gee whiz attitude and genuine love of subject to make anyone with a passing interest in piracy, england, or the East India company happy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pål Fiva

    Somewhat interesting throughout, but never more than that.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Enso

    An enjoyable and short history read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nate Didier

    Super easy read. Captivating and entertaining. I’ve never really studied pirate history so this was very informative about geo-political aspects of the time period.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    The subject of Samuel Johnson's short Enemy of All Mankind (2020) is close to our hearts: Piracy, the crime once declared beyond the boundaries of forgiveness. This is a deeply researched story of a phenomenon that, Johnson argues, had far more impact on history that normally thought. The protagonist, Henry Every (or Avery to some) is among the first English pirates to rise to the pinnacle of folklore and invite a global hunt. The opening scene is a September 1695 sea battle between the British p The subject of Samuel Johnson's short Enemy of All Mankind (2020) is close to our hearts: Piracy, the crime once declared beyond the boundaries of forgiveness. This is a deeply researched story of a phenomenon that, Johnson argues, had far more impact on history that normally thought. The protagonist, Henry Every (or Avery to some) is among the first English pirates to rise to the pinnacle of folklore and invite a global hunt. The opening scene is a September 1695 sea battle between the British pirate ship Fancy and a treasure ship from India's Mughal Empire; the location is the Indian Ocean. The battle is between an 80-gun Indian "superyacht" and a 46-gun pirate ship. The outcome would be predicably dismal for the attacker clear except for two improbable simultaneous events: the first is a massive explosion of a cannon on the Mughal ship, severely disrupting its defensive capability; the second is a cannonball from the British ship that dismasts the Mughal ship, making it unmaneuverable. Johnson argues that these two events, minor in themselves, set off a "sweeping—truly global—chain of events." Since the mid-16th century the streets of London and other cities were flooded by homeless youth from farm families that had become free agents after late feudalism morphed into early agrarian capitalism. Urban crime rates were high and in 1597 the Vagabond Act allowed these homeless to be gathered up, vigorously whipped, and sent back to their original homes—or they could join the Navy. Impressment was a state-sanctioned kidnapping that served two goals: clear the streets, and man the Royal Navy. The captain of that British ship was Henry Every, born in Devonshire circa 1659. In 1670, so the legend goes, he would join the Royal Navy, either by choice or by impressment. Every will become the fodder for an early press hype that raised him to the status of an international Robin Hood. Piracy, Terrorism and the Press First, though, Johnson takes us through a history of piracy, an act of theft and an early form of terrorism. The starting point is Egypt's Nile Delta in 1179BC. An Egyptian mural depicts a gruesome battle marking Ramses III's defeat of history's first organized sea pirates. That event was a vicious sea battle between the Egyptian navy and the Sea People, a band of itinerant raiders that scorned life on land and plundered Mediterranean trade routes and coastal cities. The carnage they created in the Mediterranean area is now called the Late Bronze Age Collapse. The Sea People were the antecedents by 2,000 years of the Vikings that plundered Europe. Like all pirates, the Sea People were stateless and rejected the rules of land-based civilizations. Their power came not just from the loss of valuable goods but also from their brutality and the terror they created. In that 1179BC battle the Egyptians were victorious, else they wouldn't have commemorated the battle in the mural, and by the time of Ramses III's death in 1155BC the Sea People ceased to exist as a coordinated group. Thereafter piracy became an activity of individuals. By the late 17th century when Henry Every roamed the seas, the rise of the print media—newspapers, pamphlets, books, and the like—rapidly spread stories of piracy and brutality just as the pulp magazines s of the 1800s spread tales of gunslingers in the American West. These stories spread the word of pillage, rape and mayhem far faster that simple word-of mouth ever could, thus= reinforcing the terror that gave pirates their power. The effect, Johnson argues, was to introduce the concept of a new crime, terrorism—an organized effort to dominate by spreading fear. The globe's richest hunting ground for piracy was India, where the Islamic Mughal Empire had established global trading routes. The rise of India's sea trade was in large part an Islamic innovation—Hinduism discouraged trade by sea. In India Hindus took on the role as artisans, fashioning the items to be exported by Muslims or sold to the Mughals. But this trade didn't follow the modern model in which goods are exported and the revenues are then used to import foreign goods. India's export trade was primarily cash-and-carry. Exporters demanded gold and silver bullion in payment. then held onto that bullion rather than sending it back to its source as payment for Indian imports. The imported bullion became the raw material for Hindu artisans who fashioned jewelry and other luxury items to be bought by the wealthy Mughals for personal and palatial adornment. So pirates had a field day in the Indian Ocean. intercepting ships outbound with valuable exports as well as ships inbound with bullion. The Indian Empire's early exports were primarily spices, but as time passed fabrics fashioned from Indian cotton became the leading export. Indian cotton was superior in its texture, softer than lamb's wool, and it had the ability to take vibrant dyes and to remain washable. The Mughals, who controlled Indian production and trade, profited handsomely from this god-given gift of just the right soil and climate for cotton. At the same time, English wool and English weavers found themselves facing heavy competition. Because the popularity of Indian fabrics threatened one of England's mainstay industries, there was considerable opposition to imports of foreign fabrics. Ethnic Divisions and the East India Company Hinduism and Islam were at peace in India until an Afghani sultan named Mahmud of Ghazna invaded the subcontinent in 1001AD to destroy infidels and loot their palaces and temples. Thereafter the Muslims ascendancy visited systematic cruelty on the Hindus, a continuing source of tension even today. By 1526 the Mughal Empire had emerged and relative amity between Hindus and Muslims prevailed until the mid-1650s, The collapse of that amity would open the way to British imperialism in the form of the British East India Company, chartered in 1600. In 1608 the British merchant ship Hector anchored at Surat on India's west-central coast. It carried William Hawkins, a representative of the newly-chartered British East India Company sent to open up trade with India. Since Vasco de Gama's arrival in 1499, Portugal had held an uncontested monopoly on India's sea trade, so Hawkins arrival was an international issue. The Portugese arrested the Hector's crew but Hawkins escaped and traveled to Agra—the center of the Mughal Empire— to meet with the Grand Mughal. Hawkins, stunned by the Grand Moghul's wealth, was received with honors and made a "resident ambassador." In 1612 The Grand Moghul granted the East India Company two bases in India, called "factories." The first was at Surat on India's west-central coast, the second was at Bombay. The Company would eventually be granted extensive powers making it a state within the Indian state and ultimately leading to creation of its own army and, eventually, to the Raj. It would also change the model for Indian trade by using revenues from exports to pay for imported goods to add to its—and the Moghul's—profits. This would enormously increase India's attraction for pirates, as well as heighten internal tensions within India and tensions between England and India. The East India Company was the first significant Joint Stock company, owned not by partners but by shareholders whose liabilities were partially limited. This business model gave it am umnusual ability to fund itself by stock issuance. In the fashion of businesses in those days, a large portion of its shares were sold at discounts to aristocratic Englishmen who could help the company achieve its goals—members of Parliament, important politicians and financiers, and so on. The Company's reputation in England as a low-risk and high-profit enterprise increased its ability to raise funds and, sadly, financial abuses like stock manipulations and bribery became widespread. Profits rolled in throughout the 17th century. Clever negotiation saved the East India Company from near-death at the end of the 17th century. It went on to a bright future that peaked in 1800 with the Company's army exceeding the British Army and the Company in political control of India (the Raj). Henry Every simply disappeared, entirely escaping the King's justice. Henry Every In the 1700s piracy was a common threat in England and Ireland. The Barbary Pirates located on the North African littoral, raided coastal towns for slaves, kidnapping an estimated 5,000 from Britain. It was this activity that generated a category of criminal called Hostis humani generis—"Enemy of Mankind." To be an Enemy of the People meant that a crime anywhere in the world could be prosecuted under English law. In 1693 the Royal Africa Company (RAC) held England's monopoly in the East Indies slave trade. Henry Every, a slave trader for Bermuda's governor, joined a newly-formed company in 1694 called the Spanish Shipping Expedition. The Expedition was formed to trade armaments with the Spanish and to salvage treasure from Spanish ships sunk in the Caribbean. The Expedition built four ships; the fast and well-armed Charles II was its flagship and its first mate was Henry Every. This was Every's first step to a reputation as the world's most famous pirate. The Charles II would remain at A Coruña, Spain, for over five months waiting for permits to proceed. During that interval, conditions aboard the vessel deteriorated as food and water became contaminated and scarce, and as medical problems like scurvy and sexual disease ravaged the crew (what's a stranded sailor to do?). An impatient Henry Every organized a mutiny and set out for sea with eighty mutineers aboard. The Charles II was renamed Fancy, and Every was on the high seas as captain of a ship with no national flag. Every's plan was to go around the Horn from Spain to Madagascar on Africa's east side of Africa, in the Indian Ocean and south of the heavily-traveled Red Sea. On the way he "requisitioned" smaller vessels, but he was in no position to take on a major battle—he had only a third of the crew he'd need to man all of his 46 guns. But sailors from captured ships joined him and when he arrived at Madagascar he had a crew of 150 . Every's choice of Madagascar as a destination was sensible—Madagascar was a pirate's island, where Fancy would be out of the hands of the law, where it was a safe place to "careen" the boat and clean its bottom of the seaworms that could sink a ship within months, and where additional crew and ships could be found. When Fancy reached Madagascar it reprovisioned and set off with four other vessels to seek trophies in the Red Sea. As Every's small fleet moved north it encountered a treasure ship named Fath Mahmamadi as it exited Bab-el-Mandeb, the narrow strait that marks the entrance to the Red Sea. Fath Mahmamadi struck its colors and Every's band took about 60,000 pounds sterling in loot. Every then headed toward Surat and a few days later overtook a gigantic ship owned by the Grand Mughal. That ship, Ganj-i-Sawai ("Exceeding Treasure"), was also heading toward Surat after attending the Hajj at Mecca, on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast. It carried 80 cannons, 400 soldier/cannoneers, and 800 pilgrims. The pilgrims included members of the Grand Mughal's court, a number of dignitaries with families, and many unrelated women, among them the Moghul's harem and his grand-daughter. The pirate fleet and the Mughal's superyacht would engage in the battle that opened the book, a lop -sided battle that Every might well have lost had he not been so lucky. Every would take the Moghul's ship and reap 200,000 pounds of loot while allowing a days-long rape of the women; je wouod threaten termination of the Company's permits. This would be his downfall. When news of the event reached India, the East India Company, already seen as a source of abuse, would be mobbed at both its Surat and Bombay "factories." The Grand Mughal would be outraged at the disrespect of his religion and the dishonor to women under his protection. He would threaten termination of the Company's permits. The result of all that anger would fall on the East India Company. Henry Every would earn an international as a brute, a scoundrel, and a generally detestable character. And he would be a major threat to the stability of the relationship between England and its Indian treasure trove just at a time when the Company's profits were falling and it was under pressure at home from investors and the wool interests. Henry Every was aware that after his exertions in the Indian Ocean he had a target on his back: the Grand Mughal believed that the piracy, if not the rape and deaths, was an Act of the East India Company; the Indian public was incensed at yet another sign of Company abuse; the investors in the Company, suffering losses in stock values, wanted the whole event quickly resolved. Henry Every escaped on the Fancy to Nassau in the Bahamas, then a very sparsely populated backwater popular with criminals. Once there, he left the ship and a selection of his stolen goods with the local governor in exchange for a place to stay until he shipped out on another vessel to the forlorn wilderness of Rhode Island, beyond the long arm of English law. Henry Every would disappear, never to be heard from again. As for English justice, only six of Every's crew were arrested and returned to England to be tried for piracy. The trial at the Old Bailey was designed to demonstrate the horror of official England at Every's piracy, thus ending the Grand Mughal's grounds for believing that England and the Company were complicit in Every's acts. But, to everyone's surprise, the jury returned an acquittal on the piracy charge. It seemed that all was lost in India until a clever prosecutor redirected the trial with a new indictment for mutiny, also punishable by death. Of this the six were convicted and executed. English blood was spilled, appeasing the Indian anger. The East India Company would survive! Johnson sees the Every story as one of nascent radical political change. Unlike English society, the society of pirates was both democratic and egalitarian—pirates voted on their leaders' plans, even on the leaders themselves. Pirates shared their loot according to the language in written contracts agreed to before the looting began. The Every story was, in part, a tale of an alternative to the English system of hierarchy and inequality. Johnson summarizes the power of Every's story in the English mind. One of the most striking things about the story of Every and his crew is the ability of a small group of humans—working entirely outside the official institutions of power—to trigger events that would be heard around the world

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Found I didn’t really care about 17th century pirates, not to mention 12th century ones.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Wheeler

    I love Steven Johnson's books (another favorite in Ghost Map which lended some inspiration for the Harbinger series). This book is about pirates and multinational corporations. Not that pirates were running them but the impact that piracy had on the development of corporations in the late 1600s. It a deep dive into one of those scenes in history that has big hinges and influences centuries. The history lesson is told by the pirates and their crew as well as the employees of the East India Compan I love Steven Johnson's books (another favorite in Ghost Map which lended some inspiration for the Harbinger series). This book is about pirates and multinational corporations. Not that pirates were running them but the impact that piracy had on the development of corporations in the late 1600s. It a deep dive into one of those scenes in history that has big hinges and influences centuries. The history lesson is told by the pirates and their crew as well as the employees of the East India Company. It also talks about how India and the Moghul empire had the greatest wealth in all the world. So interesting and Johnson does a great job showing how one event changed the world.

  20. 4 out of 5

    SiilBookishPastrychef

    I will not deny that this book took me out of my comfort zone, normally I do not read this kind of reading but I will say that it was very good, all the historical and historical connection about the violent attack of this English pirate, it was very interesting, it reminded me of my history classes and I could remember about a teacher that his classes kept them. very interesting, so much that the hours were passing very fast, there were some parts i Tereza tes and funny that that I did not expe I will not deny that this book took me out of my comfort zone, normally I do not read this kind of reading but I will say that it was very good, all the historical and historical connection about the violent attack of this English pirate, it was very interesting, it reminded me of my history classes and I could remember about a teacher that his classes kept them. very interesting, so much that the hours were passing very fast, there were some parts i Tereza tes and funny that that I did not expect. But you start to think that here we only know the part of the story, but what about the rest? It also explains why it is important and how it influences today. Thank you so much for this e-ARC

  21. 5 out of 5

    June

    When I first saw the title and the skull and crossed bones, I thought the enemy was going to be cancer. Nope, it refers to an actual pirate. Not a Disney version, though: this was a really excellent big-picture view of the factors in society of the 17th century that allowed piracy to flourish, and also shows the far-reaching effects it had, taking as a case study Henry Every, a British seaman-turned-pirate who seized a Grand Mughal treasure ship laden what would amount to about $20 million in to When I first saw the title and the skull and crossed bones, I thought the enemy was going to be cancer. Nope, it refers to an actual pirate. Not a Disney version, though: this was a really excellent big-picture view of the factors in society of the 17th century that allowed piracy to flourish, and also shows the far-reaching effects it had, taking as a case study Henry Every, a British seaman-turned-pirate who seized a Grand Mughal treasure ship laden what would amount to about $20 million in today's money and ultimately changed the world economy. The author recounts the facts in an engaging way, and walks you through educated guesses where there are gaps in the historical record. Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of an unbiased review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jack Hicks

    Enemy of All Mankind, A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History’s First Global Manhunt Steven Johnson, 2020 In recent history, global terrorists have writ large in international affairs, politics, history, and news. Who were the first global terrorists? Starting in the 17th century and continuing into most of the 18th century Pirates were the scourge of global commerce. Steven Johnson tells the story of the first world famous terrorist and pirate; a man known by the name of Henry Every. He appear Enemy of All Mankind, A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History’s First Global Manhunt Steven Johnson, 2020 In recent history, global terrorists have writ large in international affairs, politics, history, and news. Who were the first global terrorists? Starting in the 17th century and continuing into most of the 18th century Pirates were the scourge of global commerce. Steven Johnson tells the story of the first world famous terrorist and pirate; a man known by the name of Henry Every. He appears in history at the end of the 17th century. This was a time of a burgeoning world trade, a time of the first joint stock trans-national corporations and a time of a nascent popular press that would glamorize the rakish exploits of pirates. Along with the Dutch East India company, The British East India Company were the harbingers of the coming predominance of corporations in the both the generation and concentration of wealth, national and international commerce. In the early 17th century most of eastern India was ruled by the Mughal empire, a Moslem autocracy headquartered in the city of Agra. The Portuguese founded the first trading colony at the city of Surat in the late 16th century and its trade was mainly centered on spices and cotton. In the 17th century the British East India company was able to establish a competing trading base which capitalized on a growing demand in England for cotton and calico fabrics. This book is the saga of one of the most audacious and world changing heists to ever occur. Henry Avery came into possession of one the fastest, cutting edge warships of the time, first owned by another corporation in Spanish, Caribbean trade. Every was able to commandeer the ship by employing a mutiny of disgruntled and abused sailors. His target was the Grand Mughal’s treasure ship which made an annual trip to Mecca each year. On board this huge ship of 1500 tons was not only vast quantities of gold and silver but also members of the Mughal’s harem as well as family members. When the ship was attacked, looted and when the passengers were raped and abused by Every’s crew, huge repercussions were experienced by the East India company. Employees of the company were arrested and confined in the port cities of Surat and Bombay. Only restitution of the losses by the company and a promise to protect the sea lanes to Mecca would suffice to restore relations with the Grand Mughal. Fascinating is the fact that this led to the beginning of the militarization of the East India company, a development that within fifty years would lead the company to assume all the governmental duties for all of India. There are many interesting details here of the functioning of the East India company both in India but also England: Insider stock manipulation, political influence buying, corruption of local officials are examples of corporate malfeasance still very much with us today. Back in England the outrage perpetrated by Every and his crew leads to a global manhunt. Piracy before his time was tolerated and rewarded to a certain extent especially if the target was a country that was either on a war footing or had bad relations with England and especially if the spoils were shared with the Crown. Sir Francis Drake is an example of this type of individual. Every violated all these rules because he commandeered corporate private property, the ship, he was attacking the viability of a corporation, The East India Corporation, with many rich and influential stockholders and he wasn’t into sharing any spoils with anyone. The book looks at the lives of typical seamen of the 17th century. Many seamen of that era were impressed into service in the Royal Navy. Wages were meager and life on a ship of that era was miserable. 100s of sailors were crammed together below decks with 5 foot ceiling heights, airless, dank quarters. Food was moldy and contaminated with worms. Disease was rampant including Typhus, Scurvy and dysentery so one’s chances of returning home were chancy at best. Given these conditions Piracy would in some cases seem an attractive option. In fact, the term “strike” as related to labor disputes derives from the refusal of abused, complaining crewmembers to strike or raise the sails to allow the ship to proceed. On a Royal Navy or commercial vessel of the time. The Captain was supreme and could dictate all behavior and punishments on his vessel. If a group of common seamen were to organize a society free from authoritarianism and the power of wealth, what type of society would they create? In fact, the pirate codes can answer that question. Their codes incorporated the very democratic principles that would surface a century later in the American and French revolutions. The pirate ship was a floating democracy with the egalitarian principles of one man one vote to determine who were their leaders including captain, the course of action taken as well as how the spoils would be divided. Besides the historical context and information contained, the book is also a crime thriller. How do the pirates pull off their heist? How will they try to escape? Will the authorities manage to catch them and what kind of justice will be meted out? This is the narrative that ties the book together and makes it a not to be put down page turner. That said; “One of the most striking things about Every and his crew is the ability of such a small group of humans- working entirely outside the official institutions of power to trigger events that would be heard around the world. The mix of fear, admiration, and disproportionate influence that Every unleashed on the planet, represented a turning point in the evolution of the world system. It is a script we know by heart in the age of al-Qaeda and ISIS; rogue agents working outside the confines of traditional nation-states, using an act of violence to spark a geopolitical crisis and a global manhunt. But the first draft of that script was written by Every and his men more than three centuries ago.” Deja-Vue all over again. JACK

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rosann

    Steven Johnson creates a full blown examination of piracy, world events, politics, religion, sexism, colonialism, sensationalistic press and global economics by basing his story around a singular privateer and his brazen (and incredibly lucky ) attack against a royal Indian treasure ship. Though Johnson has obviously done his research, the story does not suffer from a flood of dry facts. He skillfully sets the scene then lets the actors play out the results. This is not a typical tale of piracy a Steven Johnson creates a full blown examination of piracy, world events, politics, religion, sexism, colonialism, sensationalistic press and global economics by basing his story around a singular privateer and his brazen (and incredibly lucky ) attack against a royal Indian treasure ship. Though Johnson has obviously done his research, the story does not suffer from a flood of dry facts. He skillfully sets the scene then lets the actors play out the results. This is not a typical tale of piracy and treasure seekers. Rather it is the story of how seemingly small events lead unexpectedly to global and long lasting consequences at a time of exploration and exploitation.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tori Thompson

    I was continually impressed with this book and just how much information was crammed in there, especially given how limited the actual source material is. It did the thing I (almost) always love in nonfiction, making pretty significant digressions in order to illustrate the expansive context needed to really grasp what's going on. I learned a lot about cannons, and the layout of the Old Bailey, and what was perhaps the Western world's first moral panic, and press gangs, and the development of th I was continually impressed with this book and just how much information was crammed in there, especially given how limited the actual source material is. It did the thing I (almost) always love in nonfiction, making pretty significant digressions in order to illustrate the expansive context needed to really grasp what's going on. I learned a lot about cannons, and the layout of the Old Bailey, and what was perhaps the Western world's first moral panic, and press gangs, and the development of the East India Trading Company and the groundwork it laid for modern corporations--all of it fascinating. Steven Johnson did a great job of explaining everything in a way that felt like story, while also explicitly and internally acknowledging the limitations of trying to force a narrative lens over historical fact. Listening to this audiobook at work was a worthy challenge, because I kept having to stop and rewind to catch back up to whatever winding path the book had taken while I was distracted; I'd really like to reread it again sometime, when I can devote more of my attention to what's going on. My major complaint is that there really wasn't much that could be said about Henry Every, and while I think he made for a very interesting envoy to get us to the bulk of the information presented here, he just felt a little too insubstantial to really carry this on his own. That isn't the author's fault, as there just really isn't enough to be learned about such an enigmatic figure who seemingly appeared from nowhere and disappeared without a trace. I'd love to someday find out what happened to him, and where he came from, and who he really was. While I certainly don't believe the possibility that he fell in love with the princess and they (consensually) ran off together, I really, really want to because it makes for a hell of a story, and I definitely understand people at the time being so willing to believe it. But having to endure so much hypothesis about the main focus, in a book otherwise so rooted in hard fact and explicit source material, was really frustrating. If nothing else, I wish I could've learned more about other members of the crew who, presumably, had actual names and origins and ultimate fates that could be sourced. I wish fewer of the individuals discussed had participated in slave abduction and trade, xenophobia, and rape, and would've preferred there being some sort of content warning about these themes somewhere. But it isn't the book's fault that the people it discussed did awful things, and I appreciated that these instances were never talked about as anything less than abhorrent, even if I often felt annoyed by other instances of modern moralizing--for example, I'm not sure who was served by offering up the opinion that Mecca seems arbitrary to nonbelievers. I'm not religious myself, but I can recognize the importance of such a site to so many people and don't think there's any benefit to attempting to disqualify others' beliefs. Also, there were so many uses of the phrase "enemy of all mankind" scattered throughout the text, and it got really old, really fast. As much as I enjoyed the digression about the phrase and where it came from and how it has persisted in modern legal systems of punishment, I could've done without hearing it repeated so very often. Other than that, this was a good swashbuckling romp for nonfiction, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in pirates.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    Steven Johnson's "Enemy of All Mankind" is centered on the infamous Henry Every (also known as Henry Avery), a late 17th Century English pirate. Every's pirate career was short lived, lasting about two years, starting after leading a mutiny on a sleek and well-armed British privateer, the Charles II. After taking over the ship, he renamed it the Fancy, and then sailing the ship to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea to attack ships in the rich trade of India. With some luck, he managed to take one Steven Johnson's "Enemy of All Mankind" is centered on the infamous Henry Every (also known as Henry Avery), a late 17th Century English pirate. Every's pirate career was short lived, lasting about two years, starting after leading a mutiny on a sleek and well-armed British privateer, the Charles II. After taking over the ship, he renamed it the Fancy, and then sailing the ship to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea to attack ships in the rich trade of India. With some luck, he managed to take one very rich prize, a large, well-armed ship of the grand Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Every's successful attack on the Mughal treasure ship in itself was a shock. Outgunned and outmanned, the Fancy was able to take the Indian vessel, the Gunsway, by a stroke of good luck. First of all, one of the cannons on the Indian ship exploded when firing on the pirate ship, killing the gun crew and others around it, At the same time, one of the cannonballs from the Fancy made a direct strike at the base of the mainmast on the Gunsway, dropping the mast, sails, and rigging, causing chaos aboard her. Every's men were able to scramble aboard and take control of the vessel. The ship was a pirate's dream, holding riches amounting to what would be equivalent to many tens of millions of dollars today. The ship also was carrying members of the royal family, many of whom were killed and many of the women abused, leading to a world-wide search for Every and his men. With the crew of the Fancy wanted internationally for their brutal treatment of those aboard the Gunsway, and Every labeled as an "enemy of all mankind", they made a wise decision and traded the ship to the governor of a Caribbean island in return for safe haven. Some of the men stayed, others sailed back to England on other vessels, hoping to bribe their way in and blend in with their riches. Only a handful were ever caught and tried by the authorities, ultimately being hanged for their crimes. Every and a handful of his men purchased a small vessel, sailed it across the Atlantic to Ireland, and Every apparently managed to retire with his ill-gotten gains. There is little documentation about the rest of Every's life, only conjecture, but he basically disappeared after his great theft and was never heard of again. This isn't a typical swashbuckler book, with dramatic battle stories, ships maneuvering for punishing broadsides, descriptions of hand to hand combat with cutlass and pistols, etc. Much of the book explores, with some conjecture, what it was like to be a pirate with Henry Every, describing the long periods of boredom aboard a pirate ship, how the ships were outfitted and prepared , etc. What makes Every's story of interest was it's impact on British - India relations and a subsequent strengthening of the British East India Company. This was the lead-up to the British ultimately taking control of the Indian sub-continent.

  26. 4 out of 5

    MIKE Watkins Jr.

    1. The author does a good job of entertaining the reader with interesting “pirate facts” throughout the book. This book will teach you about how the first pirates were Egyptian pirates that Dominated the Carribien. You’ll also learn about where the term “enemy of all mankind” originated from and that the difference between a Pirate and a “privateer” was. You’ll even come to realize that being a crew member on a pirate ship was an even worse experience than being a lower-level employee on a cruis 1. The author does a good job of entertaining the reader with interesting “pirate facts” throughout the book. This book will teach you about how the first pirates were Egyptian pirates that Dominated the Carribien. You’ll also learn about where the term “enemy of all mankind” originated from and that the difference between a Pirate and a “privateer” was. You’ll even come to realize that being a crew member on a pirate ship was an even worse experience than being a lower-level employee on a cruise ship (which is a terrible experience by the way). With the one difference being that piracy offered a potential “rags to riches” and “nobody to famous” opportunity that working on a cruise ship does not. 2. The author does a good job of setting up the historical events that created just the right circumstances for Henrey to thrive as a pirate. A. The invention/ spread of newspapers and other mediums enabled pirates to popular, which is how Henrey discovered Piracy in the first place. B. The development of the Indian East trading company provided pirates with more potential trading shops to target (and also introduced a new way to make money). The book goes back and forth between this company, and Henrey's crew because these two entities are deeply connected. Henry wouldn't have achieved what he achieved without this company, and the company wouldn't have achieved what it achieved without Henrey. 2. The author does a great job of “filling in the gaps” that can’t be filled with direct historical accounts in regards to Henry's story. He conducted extensive research on the time Henry's life takes place, which enabled him to produce various educated guesses on what likely happened in the “gap” of a particular event. 3. The author does a great job of breaking down the legal proceedings within the infamous court trial that took place involving Henry’s men. Despite not being a lawyer himself the author did a good job of analyzing and describing what went on. Cons 1. I don’t mind the book going into details about characters/ other elements beyond their relation to Henry. But the author goes on a bit too much about the other interesting but off-topic details. This book spends more time focusing on everyone and everything else that in some way contributed to Henreys success instead of focusing on What they specifically contributed and focusing on The pirate Henry himself

  27. 5 out of 5

    Madhav Sekar

    At its surface, this is a story about a lowly english pirate from the 17th century who becomes the subject of the world's first global manhunt. Beneath the surface, it is much more. With unbelievable prose, Steven Johnson educates the reader not just on the world of piracy, but also on the states of 17th century England and India, and most importantly the relationship between the two. Beyond the riveting story itself, I learned two extremely interesting concepts from this book. The first, is best At its surface, this is a story about a lowly english pirate from the 17th century who becomes the subject of the world's first global manhunt. Beneath the surface, it is much more. With unbelievable prose, Steven Johnson educates the reader not just on the world of piracy, but also on the states of 17th century England and India, and most importantly the relationship between the two. Beyond the riveting story itself, I learned two extremely interesting concepts from this book. The first, is best highlighted by the below quote: "The core values of long-standing institutions are often first established by the founders and the visionaries that traditional histories foreground, for understandable reasons. But the ultimate structure of those organizations—the limits of their power, the channels through which they can express that power—are more often than not defined by edge cases, by collisions at their borders, both geographic and conceptual." The idea that complex institutions, such as governments or corporations, are cleanly built with a preordained plan is compelling, but untrue. As Johnson highlights in this book, and as I now realize upon reflection, the ultimate form that most institutions come to take is largely a result of adapting to unforeseen, often low probability, events. A corollary to this observation is that once you realize much of the development of a given institution was potentially accidental or reactionary, your questioning or skepticism of its current state or power is much more justified. My second takeaway is regarding the power of networks. The gist of the book is that a seemingly trivial action near the coast of India had a powerful ripple effect that not only resulted in the first global manhunt ever, but that also permanently changed the roles of government and the then-nascent joint stock corporation in England. The reason such a small event had such asymmetric influence its that its effects were amplified by trade networks and the emergent press. I have flirted with this idea in the past, but it was good to be re-reminded of just how influential networks, and the multi-order effects they can produce, are.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Will Chin

    Enemy of all Mankind by Steven Johnson, which supposedly documents 'history's first global manhunt', should have been a runaway hit for me. It ticks all the boxes in my books, from history lessons and sea battles to a stolen ship with gold and jewels on board, as well as a pirate captain on the run. It should have been a shoo-in, a home run, an absolute no-brainer. Yet, as you can see from the three-star rating, this book sits squarely in the middle of the road. While I did learn a great many th Enemy of all Mankind by Steven Johnson, which supposedly documents 'history's first global manhunt', should have been a runaway hit for me. It ticks all the boxes in my books, from history lessons and sea battles to a stolen ship with gold and jewels on board, as well as a pirate captain on the run. It should have been a shoo-in, a home run, an absolute no-brainer. Yet, as you can see from the three-star rating, this book sits squarely in the middle of the road. While I did learn a great many things about piracy in the 17th century, the rise (and fall) of Mughal Empire and the beginning years of the East India Company, everything else about the book — the supposed ‘meat of the story’ — just aren't all that compelling. Or rather, the bits that I thought I’d enjoy fell a bit flat, and the bits that I didn’t thought I’d enjoy turned out to be the most fascinating parts. The title would suggest a ‘Catch Me If You Can’ -esque manhunt around the world, but the entire manhunt begins and ends within a page or two. Basically, the UK and India figured it’d be mutually beneficial to capture this runaway pirate captain and his crew, so the UK sent out flyers that were somehow incredibly successful. No twists and turns, no close calls for the fugitive, no betrayals — just flyers. In a way, I understand that Stevens is restrained by the fact that all of this happened centuries ago, and he had to base the book on diaries and letters and official legal documents. The fact that he could even build a narrative is pretty impressive in and of itself. The issue though is that the book feels like butter spread over too much bread. Even though the book is relatively short, a significant portion of it is devoted to backstories. Even after the pirates are captured, Stevens goes deep into theory crafting, trying to figure out what happened to this person or that person, without really giving us any solutions in the end. It is as if he found this interesting tidbit in history that no one wrote about, thought it’d be a great idea to write up on it, only to discover halfway through his research that, hey, maybe there’s not much there. Still, for its length and the history lessons that the book DID provide, I would still recommend this book. It isn’t very long and is still feel with interesting information about the time and place. Just don’t expect have your mind blown by the heist itself or the fallout thereafter.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ali Hassan

    Elegant and excellent was the pirate’s answer to the great Macedonian Alexander, who had taken him: the king asking him how he dares molest the seas so, he replied with a free spirit, “How dare thou molest the whole world? But because I do with a little ship only, I am called a thief: thou doing it with a great navy, art called an emperor.” —ST. AUGUSTINE, The City of God An excellent, comprehensive yet intriguing account of the events took place in the second half of the Seventeenth Century. Befo Elegant and excellent was the pirate’s answer to the great Macedonian Alexander, who had taken him: the king asking him how he dares molest the seas so, he replied with a free spirit, “How dare thou molest the whole world? But because I do with a little ship only, I am called a thief: thou doing it with a great navy, art called an emperor.” —ST. AUGUSTINE, The City of God An excellent, comprehensive yet intriguing account of the events took place in the second half of the Seventeenth Century. Before reading this book. I have read three other similar books e.g. The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, and Keeping the Jewel in the Crown: The British Betrayal of India that speak to a great length about the rapacity and corporate violence of East India Company in particular and the British government in general. This book is, however, unique because of its sources. It is comprised of the autobiographies of some of the pirates who participated in those ruthless events. Furthermore, the book also speaks about how and when Muslims came in India, how East India Company got established in the Indian Subcontinent, what were its aims initially, and how the British government and the Company had made ruses with the pirates who not only looted the Indian people on their voyage but also sexually assaulted their women.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim Niland

    This was a very interesting book that centered around Henry Every, a pirate little known today but infamous in his day, the tail end of the 1600's. Johnson writes well, but there's scant evidence of Every's early life, whether he joined the Royal Navy willingly as a young man or was press ganged, but regardless, he was a talented sailor. Every's sea career came about at the time of the blossoming of publicly owned and traded corporations in England and The British East India Company put together This was a very interesting book that centered around Henry Every, a pirate little known today but infamous in his day, the tail end of the 1600's. Johnson writes well, but there's scant evidence of Every's early life, whether he joined the Royal Navy willingly as a young man or was press ganged, but regardless, he was a talented sailor. Every's sea career came about at the time of the blossoming of publicly owned and traded corporations in England and The British East India Company put together a load of money for a fast ship called the Charles II with Henry Every as first mate. Stuck off the coast of Spain, some of the crew mutinied, electing Every captain and heading out in search of prey. And they sure found it, with a little luck, capturing the Gunsway, which has returning from the Hadj, laden with treasure and booty, but also many women that were related to the Grand Mughal of India himself. This set off a spasm of murder, rape and plunder that became and international scandal and led to the British crown and Admiralty vowing stamp out piracy and have those involved swing at Execution Dock. The author tells a riveting story, often quoting period documents (which can be difficult to decipher sometimes because of the old English spellings) where the pirates are a fascinating crew, practicing a democratic form of sharing their treasure, while at the same time being involved in the revolting slave trade without a second thought as well as rape on such a level that women were killing themselves rather than subject themselves to the pirates ravishing. Johnson raises the curtain on the pirates, exposing them for what their are and also looking at how they were portrayed in the mass media which was just getting started at this time. This is good narrative non-fiction, check it out.

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