Author(s): David Charles; Cordingly Johnson
Captain Charles Johnson's General History of Pirates was one of the best-selling books of 1724, when it was first published. It provides a sweeping account of what has come to be called the Golden Age of Piracy. It went through four editions in two years, and without doubt owed a substantial part of its success to a dramatic writing style that vividly captures the realities of pirates' savage existence. The book contains documentary evidence of events during the lives of its subjects. In the 270 years since its original publication, Johnson's work has come to be regarded as the classic study of one of the most popular subjects in maritime history.
A facsimile edition of a classic source for the history of piracy, as used by Robert Louis Stevenson in the writing of Treasure Island.
Charles Johnson's real identity is unknown, but his writing shows a knowledge of the sailor's speech and life, which suggests that he could have been an sea captain. He may also have been a professional writer well versed in the ways of the sea; some have suggested that he might have been the author Daniel Defoe.