When Thieves Retire

Published on: April 4 / 2023

Pirate Enlightenment, or the New Libertalia Review

Francis Gooding for London Review of Books

As the title suggests, for Graeber there is more at stake here than one would typically expect of a brief episode in local history or a shaggy dog story about a pirate kingdom that never was, though the book is certainly filled with colourful material: blood pacts and poisonings, magicians and princesses, off-grid pirate towns on tropical islands, impostor kings lording it over phoney empires, and more. Beyond all that, though, Graeber has a case to make about the way events on the north-eastern coast of Madagascar might reframe our understanding of intellectual developments in the Age of Enlightenment.

Read the article on the London Review of Books website