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The Pirate Captain Ned Low (Hardback)

His Life and Mysterious Fate

Maritime Military > Biographies P&S History > By Century > 18th Century

By Dr Nicky Nielsen
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781399094313
Published: 1st August 2022

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Edward ‘Ned’ Low’s career in piracy began with a single gunshot. While working on a logging ship in the Bay of Honduras the quick-tempered Ned was provoked by the ship’s captain. He responded by grabbing a musket and inciting a mutiny. Then the London-born sailor and a dozen of his crewmates held a council, stitched a black flag and voted to make war against the whole world preying on ships from any nation, flying any flag. Low’s name became synonymous with brutality and torture during the 1720s as he cut a swathe of destruction from the shores of Nova Scotia to the Azores, the coast of Africa and throughout the Caribbean. Ned Low’s life was one of failed redemption: a thief from childhood who briefly rose in the world after moving to America, only to fall again lower and harder than before. He was feared even by his own crew, and during his life on the wrong side of the law he became infamous for his extreme violence, fatalistic behaviour, and became perhaps one of the best examples of why pirates were classed in Admiralty Law as hostis humani generis: the common enemies of all mankind.

...the end product of which is a fine piece of historical work. The tapestry of a narrative that Nielsen does weave is awe-inspiring.

The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord - Vol. 32, No. 3 (Fall 2022)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The topic of pirates is one of the most fascinating to me, not for the romanticized notions of dashing ne'er-do-wells or swashbuckling heroes, but for the historical significance of piracy and the way it changed the world. This book was a well-researched and captivating account of a pirate who made his name as one of the most bloodthirsty pirates to ever sail the seas. While Ned Low wasn't as famous as Blackbeard or Black Sam, he was certainly infamous in his own right, in his own time.

NetGalley, CJ Rafake

Get the book. It's rather good.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Throughout the narrative Nielsen poses numerous questions and then explains what may have actually occurred based on empirical evidence, his research, and educated analysis.

Read the Full Review Here

Pirates and Privateers

Ultimately, this is a solid contribution to our history of pirates, particularly away from the ‘superstar’ pirates we read about so often.

Read the Full Review Here

Beating Tsundoku

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"The amazing life of Ned Low, one of the most successful of 18th century pirates, is the subject of a new book detailing his cruelty to the captains of the ships he captured.The Pirate Captain Ned Low details some of the many ships Low captured before stripping them of their valuable cargoes."

Terry Sutton MBE

This has been a great book that I’ve fully enjoyed, here’s hoping for books about other pirates.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

This is clearly a well researched and balanced case study of a pirate who perhaps isn't as famous as many of his contemporaries, however had a successful and bloodthirsty career.
The writer has interpreted primary sources and offered a number of theories rather romanticised suppositions or cliched tropes. It's a refreshing and engaging read, and I would definitely recommend to those with a historical interest in piracy.

NetGalley, Georgia Zervudachi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is an interesting and well-researched account of the life of a pirate - albeit not one I have ever heard of, and yet he attacked over 100 ships and in his day was a force to be reckoned with. The tale is told well, with clear reference to contemporary events and people, and relies on first hand accounts written at the time.

The author tells of Ned Low's humble beginnings, and how he drifted to a life of piracy, relying on primary resources where possible, and doesn't try to fill the gaps with supposition or fantasy. You therefore believe what you are reading, which is of a life far removed from anything we could understand today.

It was an interesting read and I learned a lot about the life of pirates (not at all as glamorous as Hollywood portrayed), their codes of behaviour and the way they gathered a crew. Fascinating stuff.

NetGalley, Sue Andrews

As featured in

The Bookseller

This is a well researched, informative, and entertaining book about a new to me pirate. I appreciated the style of writing and I learned a lot.
Recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

We don't know what Ned Low looked like. While we know his wife dying leads him to abandon his daughter and live life at sea, the unpredictable rages he is prone to are not defined. This is an instance where he was too successful of a pirate. By not getting captured, he never is forced to tell his own tale. He fades away with every excuse for his actions unknown. Was he truly as horrible as everyone made him out to be? We may never know. This book is the closest we will get right now to discover the man as he was known then. Clearly, I would consider this a great resource on the facts alone gathered. Would I put this proudly on my shelf of other Pirate-related books? Absolutely. I'm hoping Nielsen, who primarily publishes Egypt-related works, does another.

NetGalley, Alexander McCue

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have often struggled to find nonfiction books about pirates that fall in that sweet spot between academic and entertaining. Either the research seems suspect on a very readable book, or the content is so dry I can barely focus on what I'm reading. This book about a relatively unknown pirate Ned Low hits the mark of being fascinating and accurate at the same time. The author gives an excellent explanation of maritime life, not just aboard pirate ships, and reveals the fascinating life of a man I had never heard anything about. The information is readable while not being boring and the author was skillful at weaving in other parts of history from that time period without seeming like he was going down rabbit trails. Following the exploits of Ned Low and sprinkled with titillating stories of other facets of the naval world, I found myself reading this book incredibly quickly as if it were a novel I needed to find out the end of. I was highly impressed by the nonfiction writing and felt I walked away understanding pirate culture far more than I did before reading this book.

NetGalley, Heather Richards

About Dr Nicky Nielsen

Dr Nicky Nielsen is a Danish historian and Egyptologist who has written several books and articles about Ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, Vikings and British naval history.

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