Book details

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia

Author: David Graeber

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia

About This Book

The final posthumous work by the coauthor of the major New York Times bestseller The Dawn of Everything.

Pirates have long lived in the realm of romance...

Page Count
208
Genre
On Sale
01/24/2023

Book Details

The final posthumous work by the coauthor of the major New York Times bestseller The Dawn of Everything.

Pirates have long lived in the realm of romance and fantasy, symbolizing risk, lawlessness, and radical visions of freedom. But at the root of this mythology is a rich history of pirate societies—vibrant, imaginative experiments in self-governance and alternative social formations at the edges of European empire.

In graduate school, David Graeber conducted ethnographic field research in Madagascar, producing what would eventually become a doctoral thesis on the island’s magic, slavery, and politics. During this time, he encountered the Zana-Malata, an ethnic group made up of mixed descendants of the many pirates who settled on the island at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia, Graeber's final posthumous book, is the outgrowth of this early research, and the culmination of ideas that he explored in his classic, bestselling works Debt and The Dawn of Everything (written with the archeologist David Wengrow).

Graeber explores how the proto-democratic practices of the Zana-Malata came to shape the Enlightenment project defined for too long as distinctly European. He illuminates the non-European origins of what we consider to be “Western” thought, and endeavors to recover forgotten forms of social and political order that gesture toward new, hopeful possibilities for the future.

Imprint Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN

9780374610203

In The News

“Daring, carefully speculative, and intellectually ambitious: all qualities that we had
come to expect of the late David Graeber. Pirate Enlightenment is a splendid example of Graeber’s transformative and convincing case that the Enlightenment was a cosmopolitan and plebian concoction, fabricated far from the European centers of Enlightenment thought.”
James C. Scott

“Pirates captured the imagination of writers and readers centuries ago, and David Graeber reveals why. He has produced one of the most fascinating, original, and altogether brilliant books ever written about these unruly outlaws.”
Marcus Rediker, author of Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age

“Radical, magical and enchanting: a true history of a people’s Enlightenment, led by Malagasy women and egalitarian pirates at a crossroads of the world, a land of battle, foment, booty, whose inhabitants liked nothing better than pranking outsiders to spread outlandish tales of their lives.”
Cory Doctorow, author of Chokepoint Capitalism and Walkaway

About the Creators

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia