The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found

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Annotation: Presents the exciting true story of the captaincy, wreck, and discovery of the Whydah--the only wrecked pirate ship ever found--which sank off the coast of Cape Cod in 1717.
Genre: Geography
Catalog Number: #138211
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 170 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-8033-8 Perma-Bound: 0-605-97089-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-8033-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-97089-2
Dewey: 910.4
LCCN: 2017931938
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
In December 1716, pirates led by Sam Bellamy captured the Whydah, a large, fast, and heavily armed slave ship. Loaded with treasure, it was a rich prize. Four months later, it sank in a storm off Cape Cod. In the 1980s, a team searching for the Whydah located the wreck on the ocean floor and began bringing the ship's bell, cannons, gold bars, coins, and other artifacts to the surface. Just as intriguing as the ship's story is Sandler's description of the causes and practices of piracy. While acknowledging that pirates deserve their reputation for barbarous cruelty, he praises their spirit of democracy, noting that their captains were elected and all crew members, regardless of race or ethnicity, had an equal vote in decisions. The black-and-white illustrations include archival prints, maps, and documents as well as photos of the excavation process and the objects recovered. Though the text branches into side issues at times, Sandler's broad research and his evident fascination with the subject result in a multifaceted story that many readers will find rewarding.
Horn Book
In 1717, pirate captain "Black Sam" Bellamy captured slave ship Whydah and transformed it into the most feared pirate ship of its day. Sandler enlivens the historical narrative by fleshing out biographical details, sharing (and occasionally debunking) myths and legends, providing an overview of the era's social and economic factors, and spotlighting contemporary excavation of the shipwreck site. Useful photographs, maps, and sidebars are interspersed. Bib., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
Sandler tells the exciting true story of the only wrecked pirate ship ever found and the mysteries it revealed. Commissioned in 1715 in London and christened the Whydah after the West African slave-trading kingdom of Ouidah, the vessel was a galley ship configured as a heavily armed trading and transport ship for the Atlantic slave trade. In February 1717, the Whydah was attacked by pirates under the command of "Black Sam" Bellamy, who made the vessel his flagship. Bellamy and his newly captured ship menaced the coastlines of Colonial America until it was wrecked two months after capture in a nor'easter along the shoals of Cape Cod. The treasure-laden wreck was found in 1984 by marine archaeologists, and Sandler explains that 30 years of expeditions have "resulted in the discovery and retrieval of thousands of artifacts that increase our knowledge of the Whydah's history and dramatically alter our perception of pirates and their way of life." Sandler offers an insightful look at how different the realities of pirate life were compared to how it has been mythologized in popular culture. Instead of finding eye patches, wooden legs, rum bottles, and parrot remains, archaeologists discovered artifacts such as medical syringes, surprising for "an age when medical knowledge and practice were primitive at best." A fascinating, vivid look at what one shipwreck reveals about the realities of the "Golden Age of Piracy." (maps, photos, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 CST 2017)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (Tue Aug 01 00:00:00 CDT 2017)
Kirkus Reviews
Wilson's Junior High Catalog
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 165-166) and index.
Word Count: 29,866
Reading Level: 8.3
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 8.3 / points: 5.0 / quiz: 188117 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:11.9 / points:10.0 / quiz:Q70646
Lexile: 1270L

A 2018 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist

The exciting true story of the captaincy, wreck, and discovery of the Whydah — the only pirate ship ever found — and the incredible mysteries it revealed.


The 1650s to the 1730s marked the golden age of piracy, when fearsome pirates like Blackbeard ruled the waves, seeking not only treasure but also large and fast ships to carry it. The Whydah was just such a ship, built to ply the Triangular Trade route, which it did until one of the greediest pirates of all, Black Sam Bellamy, commandeered it. Filling the ship to capacity with treasure, Bellamy hoped to retire with his bounty — but in 1717 the ship sank in a storm off Cape Cod. For more than two hundred years, the wreck of the Whydah (and the riches that went down with it) eluded treasure seekers, until the ship was finally found in 1984 by marine archaeologists. The artifacts brought up from the ocean floor are priceless, both in value and in the picture they reveal of life in that much-mythologized era, changing much of what we know about pirates.


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