Fiction is fun, but don't mess with the history

Friday, October 7, 2011

Follow-up to 'Lydia Bailey' review

As noted previously, when reading a historical novel I like to have one or more reliable works of straight history near to hand for fact-checking. I initially failed to do that while reading the Barbary War sections of Kenneth Roberts' Lydia Bailey (see 08-30 post). Since then, I found a very well-written history entitled Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805, by Richard Zacks. Zacks' book confirms the general historical accuracy of Roberts' novel. It also confirms my comments about Roberts' tendency to polarize historical characters into good/evil extremes. Pirate Coast is highly recommended for fulfillment of my first criterium, "inspired me to further historical research".

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