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The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulfby William C. Davis
Synopses & Reviews
At large during the most colorful period in New Orleans' history, from just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812, privateers Jean and Pierre Laffite made life hell for Spanish merchants on the Gulf. Pirates to the U.S. Navy officers who chased them, heroes to the private citizens who shopped for contraband at their well-publicized auctions, the brothers became important members of a filibustering syndicate that included lawyers, bankers, merchants, and corrupt U.S. officials. But this allegiance didn't stop the Laffites from becoming paid Spanish spies, disappearing into the fog of history after selling out their own associates.
William C. Davis uncovers the truth about two men who made their names synonymous with piracy and intrigue on the Gulf.
"[E]ngrossing and exciting....This is an excellent examination of interesting, tough men who knew how to survive in an interesting, tough age." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[A] highly engaging chronicle of the brothers Laffite, anarchist princes of the early republic....A splendid telling of their endlessly interesting tale." Kirkus Reviews
"Though Davis besieges the reader with detail, this massive, tenaciously researched book...should prove the last word on Laffite....All that remains is a dazzling tissue of colorful exaggerations." The Washington Post Book World
Book News Annotation:
Through extensive research Davis (history, Virginia Technical U.) sets the record straight on the exploits of the Lafitte brothers, and how they made Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean quite a lively place from about 1803 to about 1823 with very public sales and auctions of plunder, technologies that created ships that could outrun and outfight the bloated boats of the official fleets, and the development of Barataria and Galveston. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Davis untangles the lives of Jean and Pierre Laffite, buccaneers during the most colorful period in New Orleans' history, the era from just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812.
"[A] swashbuckling look at Jean and Pierre Laffite, brothers and partners in crime."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
From just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812, privateers Jean and Pierre Laffite made life hell for Spanish merchants on the Gulf. Pirates to the U.S. Navy officers who chased them, heroes to the New Orleanians who shopped for contraband at their well-publicized auctions, the brothers became important members of a filibustering syndicate. But this allegiance didnt stop the Laffites from becoming paid Spanish spies, disappearing into the fog of history after selling out their own associates.
"Davis fills out this squalid footnote to our past with great skill."—The New York Times Book Review
"A solid study of the Gulf rims most famous buccaneers has long been overdue . . . Davis beautifully reconstructs the elusive, colorful and nefarious lives of the Laffite brothers . . . Marvelous."—Mobile Register
"Davis account is the best yet produced."—New Orleans Times Picayune
William C. Davis teaches history at Virginia Tech and is the director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He lives in Virginia.
About the Author
William C. Davis is the director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and chief consultant for the A&E television series Civil War Journal. Davis teaches history at Virginia Tech and lives in Virginia.
Table of Contents
PREFACE A Corsair's Name xi
Vintage Bordeaux 1770-1803 1
New Men in a New World 1803-1806 8
Brothers United 1806-1809 25
Brothers in Business 1809-1811 44
Dawn of the Corsairs 1810-1811 65
Origins of the Laffite Fleet 1811-1813 83
Lords of Barataria 1813-1814 107
The Rise of the Filibusters 1814 133
Patriots for a Price 1814 154
The End of Barataria 1814 181
The Fight for New Orleans 1814-1815 211
Spies for Spain 1815-1816 232
A Career of Betrayals 1815-1816 259
Distant Horizons 1816 281
The Birth of Galveston 1816-1817 307
A Season of Treachery 1817 326
Deadly Friends 1817-1818 349
Winds of Change 1818 367
The Dying Dream 1819 393
Farewell to Galveston 1820 419
The Last Voyage 1820-1823 445
The Legend of the Laffites 466
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