REVIEW OF 'BOLD IN HER BREECHES: WOMEN PIRATES ACROSS THE AGES.'

BOLD IN HER BREECHES: WOMEN PIRATES ACROSS THE AGES. Ed. by Jo Stanley, Pandora £14.99

From pirate queens to swashbuckling lesbians, many a girlish heart has thrilled to the sign of the Jolly Roger. The history of women at sea is awash with rich pickings: there's the marauding Alfhild who gave birth on the icy waters of the North Sea, Grace O'Malley and her fearsome fleet of Irish galleys, and those lively old salts Mary Read and Ann Bonny who so delighted 18th-century chroniclers with tales of amorous excess and cross- dressing. Setting the log-book straight, Jo Stanley's collection of essays attempts to reclaim these women from the stuff of myth and stakes a place for those who cooked, skivvied and slept their way across the high seas. A bracing book, though stronger on personality than water-tight historical analysis.

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