Bucaneers atting a galeon


Angus is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on pirates.

He is often seen in pirate history documentaries, explaining to viewers what the pirate's life was like, and he's often heard doing the same on radio, at book festivals, media launches and academic conferences. He's even been known to write about pirates in the newspapers.

Angus has no fewer than 16 books about pirates,  the first being The History of Pirates, published back in 1999, and his latest, The Pirate World, is due out in 2019.

During the two decades in between he has kept on researching the subject, and while he also writes about other things, from the Vikings to the Second World War, he keeps being drawn back into the world of Blackbeard, Black Sam Bellamy and Calico Jack Rackam.

  • Angus' first pirate book  - The History of Pirates - was a best-seller, with over 120,000 copies sold.
  • His book that won him the greatest critical acclaim was Blackbeard, his fast-paced biography of America's most notorious pirate. It's still available, in paperback or as an e-book.
  • His most comprehensive though, is  Piracy: the Complete History, which covers everything from piracy in the Ancient World to attacks happening today.
  • Angus is currently working on a revised, updated and far more comprehensively illustrated version of this Piracy, with a specially commissioned portfolio of maps, which is due out in 2019. It'll be called The Pirate World, and will be published by Bloomsbury.

Meanwhile, he keeps on with his pirate research, and is currently investigating the murky world surrounding Captain Kidd - a man who Angus feels was given a raw deal when he was hanged for piracy in 1701. In fact, he hopes to prove his innocence - at least of the crime of piracy on the high seas.


Pirate Books by Angus Konstam

The History of Pirates
(published 1999) The Lyons Press Introduction by David Cordingly

Pirates: Predators of the Seas - An Illustrated History

(written with Roger M. Kean) Illustrated by Oliver Frey (published 2007) Thalamus Publishing

Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate

(published 2006) John Wiley Ltd.

Piracy: The Complete History
(published 2008) Osprey Publishing (General List Edition)

The Atlas of Pirates: Treasures and Treachery on the Seven Seas

(published 2009) The Lyons Press

Pirate Books released by Osprey Publishing

Pirates , 1660-1730bsp
Illustrated by Angus McBride (published 1998)

Buccaneers , 1620-1700
Illustrated by Angus McBride (published 2000)

Elizabethan Sea Dogs, 1560-1605
Illustrated by Angus McBride (published 2000)

Privateers & Pirates, 1730-1830

Illustrated by Angus McBride (published 2001)

Pirates: Terror on the High Seas
Illustrated by Angus McBride (published 2001) Compilation

The Pirate Ship, 1660-1730
Illustrated by Tony Bryan (published 2003)

Scourge of the Seas: Buccaneers, Pirates and Privateers

Illustrated by Tony Bryan Angus McBride (published 2007) Illustrated Compilation, with new material

The Great Expedition: Sir Francis Drake on the Spanish Main, 1585-86

Illustrated by Peter Dennis (published 2011)

Pirate: The Golden Age
(written with Dave Rickman) Illustrated by Giuseppe Rava (published 2011)

Blackbeard's Last Fight: Pirate Hunting in North Carolina, 1718
Illustrated by Mark Stacey  (published 2013)

Barbary Corsairs, 15th-17th centuries
Illustrated by Gerry Embleton (published 2016)

Here's how he explains where it all started;

Back in 1991 I was working as a Curator of Weapons in the Royal Armouries, based in the Tower of London. We were approached by the National Maritime Museum, who were planning to put on a major new exhibition on Piracy. Its curator, David Cordingly, wanted objects which could help tell the story. Well, we had a few weapons of the right period, but none were directly linked to pirates. David said that was OK, adding that in the whole exhibit there would be very few directly attributable pirate objects. This got me thinking. Why did pirates leave such a lack of hard evidence behind them?
I began reading, and the more I read the more questions I had. It turned out that while there wasn't much in the way of tangible pirate objects, there was a paper trail of documents - the statements of victims, newspaper reports, letters from colonial governors and even the dying words of condemned pirates, recorded for posterity. Strangely, there was very little written by the actual pirates themselves. I decided to keep digging.
By now I was working as a Chief Curator in a maritime museum in Key West, Florida. I curated my own pirate exhibit, and for it I scoured the archives, wrote labels and gathered objects, paintings and ship models, to help bring the story to life. What really fascinated me know was the difference between our modern-day take on pirates, and the reality of pirate life during its "Golden Age" in the early 18th century. In other words, I was trying to prise apart pirate fact from pirate fiction. I'm still doing that today, more than twenty years later!