Synopses & Reviews
Jean and Pierre Laffite's lives were intertwined with the most colorful period in New Orleans' history, the era from just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812. Labeled as corsairs and buccaneers for methods that bordered on piracy, the brothers ran a privateering cooperative that provided contraband goods to a hungry market and made life hell for Spanish merchants on the Gulf. Later they became important members of a syndicate in New Orleans that included lawyers, bankers, merchants, and corrupt U.S. officials. But this allegiance didn't stop them from becoming paid Spanish spies, handing over information about the syndicate's plans and selling out their own associates.
In 1820 the Laffites disappeared into the fog of history from which they had emerged, but not before becoming folk heroes in French Louisiana and making their names synonymous with piracy and intrigue on the Gulf.
PRAISE FOR AN HONORABLE DEFEAT
"Once again [William C. Davis] has reminded us that American history is not all black and white, or blue and gray-that, especially within the doomed Confederacy, the shading of character ran from nobility to absurdity." -THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
"A story rich in pathos and humor." -THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
PRAISE FOR THE PIRATES LAFFITE
"This massive, tenaciously researched book . . . should prove the last word on Laffite. Or should I say the Laffites? . . . Davis has restored Pierre to his rightful place in the story and gives us a full account of 'les deux freres.'"--The Washington Post
"Separating folklore from fact, Davis debunks hoary myths . . . For those who want to understand how the Laffites' privateering operations worked, Davis's account is the best yet produced."--The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
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.
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.
About the Author
The author of more than forty books, WILLIAM C. DAVIS is the director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He is also chief consultant for the AandE television series Civil War Journal and teaches history at Virginia Tech.
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