Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | July 15, 2015

    Frank Wilczek: IMG You Are... Who?

    Writing a book is an unnatural act of communication. Speaking to a person, or even to an audience, is an interaction. Very different styles are... Continue »
    1. $20.97 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Burnside Nautical- Nautical Lore

More copies of this ISBN

She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea


She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"With her pistols loaded she went aboard

And by her side hung a glittering sword

In her belt two daggers, well armed for war

Was this female smuggler

Was this female smuggler who never feared a scar."

If a "hen frigate" was any ship carrying a captain's wife, then a "she captain" is a bold woman distinguished for courageous enterprise in the history of the sea. "She captains," who infamously possessed the "bodies of women and the souls of men," thrilled and terrorized their shipmates, doing "deeds beyond the valor of women." Some were "bold and crafty pirates with broadsword in hand." Others were sirens, too, like the Valkyria Princess Alfhild, whom the mariners made rover-captain for her beauty. Like their male counterparts, these astonishing women were drawn to the ocean's beauty — and its danger.

In her inimitable, yarn-spinning style, award-winning historian Joan Druett tells us what life was like for the women who dared to captain ships of their own, don pirates' garb, and perform heroic and hellacious deeds on the high seas. We meet Irish raider Grace "Grania" O'Malley — sometimes called "the bald Grania" because she cut her hair short like a boy's — who commanded three galleys and two hundred fighting men. Female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read were wanted by the law. Armed to the teeth with cutlasses and pistols, they inspired awe and admiration as they swaggered about in fancy hats and expensive finery, killing many a man who cowered cravenly before them.

Lovelorn Susan "Put on a jolly sailor's dress/And daubed her hands with tar/To cross the raging sea/On board a man of war" to be near her William. Others disguised themselves for economic reasons. In 1835, Ann Jane Thornton signed on as a ship's steward to earn the fair wage of nine dollars per month. When it was discovered that she was a woman, the captain testified that Jane was a capital sailor, but the crew had been suspicious of her from the start, "because she would not drink her grog like a regular seaman."

In 1838, twenty-two-year-old Grace Darling led the charge to rescue nine castaways from the wreck of the "Forfarshire" (the "Titanic" of its day). "I'll save the crew!" she cried, her courageous pledge immortalized in a torrent of books, songs, and poems. Though "she captains" had been sailing for hundreds of years by the turn of the twentieth century, Scotswoman Betsey Miller made headlines by weathering "storms of the deep when many commanders of the other sex have been driven to pieces on the rocks."

From the warrior queens of the sixth century B.C. to the women shipowners influential in opening the Northwest Passage, Druett has assembled a real-life cast of characters whose boldness and bravado will capture popular imagination. Following the arc of maritime history from the female perspective, "She Captains'" intrepid crew sails forth into a sea of adventure.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 273-288) and index.

Table of Contents



One: The Warrior-Queens

Two: The Valkyria

Three: Mistress Cowtie and the Pirates

Four: Pirate Queens

Five: Captured by Corsairs

Six: The Widows

Seven: Bonny & Read

Eight: "The Naked Truth"

Nine: Ship's Business

Ten: Fatal Shores

Eleven: Fatal Impact

Twelve: The Deceit of Dress

Thirteen: Decently Skirted

Fourteen: War Bride

Fifteen: Women of War

Sixteen: Nelson's Women

Seventeen: Voyages of Discovery

Eighteen: To the Rescue!

Nineteen: Northwest Passage

Twenty: Ice Queens

Twenty-one: A Woman at the Helm

Editorial Note



Product Details

Heroines and Hellions of the Sea
Druett, Joan
Druett Joan
Simon & Schuster
New York :
Naval history
Maritime History
Women's Studies - History
Ship captains
Women ship captains
General History
Social Science-Women's Studies - History
History-Maritime History
Transportation - General
Social Science-Women's Studies - General
History : General
Series Volume:
CP 3359
Publication Date:
9.56x6.37x1.12 in. 1.10 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. The Perfect Storm: A True Story of... Used Mass Market $2.50
  2. Before the wind :the memoir of an... Used Hardcover $4.50
  3. Sea Rovers: Pirates, Privateers &... Used Hardcover $2.48
  4. Women Sailors and Sailors' Women: An... Used Hardcover $11.95
  5. Lone Voyager: The Extraordinary... Used Trade Paper $8.95
  6. The Pirates of the New England Coast... Used Trade Paper $11.00

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Naval History
History and Social Science » World History » General
Transportation » Nautical » General
Transportation » Nautical » Nautical Lore

She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684856902 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at