Rebels at Sea

Privateering in the American Revolution

29 July 2022


The best-selling author of Black Flags, Blue Waters (ISBN 978 1 63149 622 6) reclaims the daring freelance sailors who proved essential to the winning of the Revolutionary War

The heroic story of the founding of the US Navy during the American Revolution has been told before, yet missing from most maritime histories of the country’s first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels, from 20-foot whaleboats to 40-cannon men-of-war, that truly revealed the new nation’s character—above all, its ambition and entrepreneurial ethos.

In Rebels at Sea, best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin corrects that significant omission and contends that privateers, though often seen as profiteers at best and pirates at worst, were in fact critical to the American Revolution’s outcome. Armed with cannons, swivel guns, muskets and pikes—as well as government documents granting them the right to seize enemy ships—thousands of privateers tormented the British on the broad Atlantic and in bays and harbours on both sides of the ocean. Abounding with tales of daring manoeuvers and deadly encounters, Rebels at Sea presents the American Revolution as we have rarely seen it before.

Also By: Eric Jay Dolin View all by author...



165 x 244 mm • 352 pages


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