She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea

Simon and Schuster, 29 may. 2001 - 304 páginas
With her pistols loaded she went aboard
And by her side hung a glittering sword
In her belt two daggers, well armed for war
Was this female smuggler
Was this female smuggler who never feared a scar.

If a "hen frigate" was any ship carrying a captain's wife, then a "she captain" is a bold woman distinguished for courageous enterprise in the history of the sea. "She captains," who infamously possessed the "bodies of women and the souls of men," thrilled and terrorized their shipmates, doing "deeds beyond the valor of women." Some were "bold and crafty pirates with broadsword in hand." Others were sirens, too, like the Valkyria Princess Alfhild, whom the mariners made rover-captain for her beauty. Like their male counterparts, these astonishing women were drawn to the ocean's beauty -- and its danger.
In her inimitable, yarn-spinning style, award-winning historian Joan Druett tells us what life was like for the women who dared to captain ships of their own, don pirates' garb, and perform heroic and hellacious deeds on the high seas. We meet Irish raider Grace "Grania" O'Malley -- sometimes called "the bald Grania" because she cut her hair short like a boy's -- who commanded three galleys and two hundred fighting men. Female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read were wanted by the law. Armed to the teeth with cutlasses and pistols, they inspired awe and admiration as they swaggered about in fancy hats and expensive finery, killing many a man who cowered cravenly before them.
Lovelorn Susan "Put on a jolly sailor's dress/And daubed her hands with tar/To cross the raging sea/On board a man of war" to be near her William. Others disguised themselves for economic reasons. In 1835, Ann Jane Thornton signed on as a ship's steward to earn the fair wage of nine dollars per month. When it was discovered that she was a woman, the captain testified that Jane was a capital sailor, but the crew had been suspicious of her from the start, "because she would not drink her grog like a regular seaman."
In 1838, twenty-two-year-old Grace Darling led the charge to rescue nine castaways from the wreck of the Forfarshire (the Titanic of its day). "I'll save the crew!" she cried, her courageous pledge immortalized in a torrent of books, songs, and poems. Though "she captains" had been sailing for hundreds of years by the turn of the twentieth century, Scotswoman Betsey Miller made headlines by weathering "storms of the deep when many commanders of the other sex have been driven to pieces on the rocks."
From the warrior queens of the sixth century B.C. to the women shipowners influential in opening the Northwest Passage, Druett has assembled a real-life cast of characters whose boldness and bravado will capture popular imagination. Following the arc of maritime history from the female perspective, She Captains' intrepid crew sails forth into a sea of adventure.

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LibraryThing Review

Reseña de usuario  - karynwhite - LibraryThing

The book goes way back in time to ancient times like 500BC. I personally, found the more modern chapters the most interesting. And by more modern, I mean 1800s onwards. It's the kind of book where you ... Leer reseña completa

SHE CAPTAINS: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea

Reseña de usuario  - Kirkus

A m‚lange of tales of sea-going, or at least sea-connected, women, where the often fragmentary information can still pique a yen to sign on for the voyage. New Zealander Druett (Hen Frigates, 1998 ... Leer reseña completa

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Página 100 - You shall be taken from the place where you are, and be carried to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, and there be severally hanged by your necks until you be dead. And the Lord have mercy on your souls.
Página 128 - From distant climes, o'er widespread seas, we come, Though not with much eclat or beat of drum, True patriots all; for be it understood, We left our country for our country's good...
Página 205 - No denial could be given to such a wish, and the poor fellow instantly began his march.
Página 58 - Scotland. She brought with her her husband, for she was as well by sea as by land more than master's mate with him. He was of the nether Burkes, and now as I hear MackWilliam Euter, and called by nickname Richard in Iron." This was a notorious woman in all the coast of Ireland: this woman did Sir Philip Sydney see and speak with; he can more at large inform you of her.
Página 208 - I am quite clear, and I believe I am joined in opinion by all your friends here, that you will be more likely to recover your health and strength in England than in an inactive situation at a Foreign Court, however pleasing the respect and gratitude shown to you for your services may be...
Página 129 - Don't you see the ships a-coming With the prizes at their tail > Oh ! my little rolling sailor, Oh! my little rolling he; I do love a jolly sailor, Blithe and merry might he be. Sailors, they get all the money, Soldiers they get none but brass ; I do love a jolly sailor, Soldiers they may kiss Oh!
Página 205 - I make it a rule to introduce them to all the good company I can, as they have few to look up to, besides myself, during the time they are at sea.
Página 202 - That battle, Sir, was the most extraordinary one that was ever fought, and it is unique, Sir, for three reasons ; first, for its having been fought at night; secondly, for its having been fought at anchor; and thirdly, for its having been gained by an admiral with one arm.
Página 97 - ... many of those who are now cheating the widows and orphans, and oppressing their poor neighbours who have no money to obtain justice, would then rob at sea, and the ocean would be crowded with rogues like the land, and no merchant would venture out; so that the trade in a little time would not be worth following.

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Sobre el autor (2001)

Joan Druett, an award-winning writer of nautical nonfiction, is the author of numerous works, including Hen Frigates and In the Wake of Madness. She lives in New Zealand. Visit her website at

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