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A dazzling array of swashbuckling pirates, picaroons, and sea rovers are pitted against the often feckless representatives of an outpost government authority in the Chesapeake Bay region. It is an exciting and dramatic two hundred-year history that begins grimly with the "starving time" in the Virginia colony in 1609, and ends with the peaceful resolution of the Othello affair with the French in 1807. In between lies a full panoply of violent and bizarre buccaneering incidents that one is hard pressed to imagine from the vantage point of the twenty-first century. Documented by impressive research in articles of the Netherlands, England, and the United States, Shomette skillfully reconstructs these episodes and many others, including the intensive anti-pirate cruise to capture—dead or alive—the notorious Blackbeard. The anti-pirate cruises led to the roundup of dozens of pirates and some showy executions but did little to curb the continued terrorist activities of bandits like Roger Makeele, Stede Bonnet, and Joseph Wheland.