The Sea Rovers Critical Context - Essay

Albert Marrin

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Marrin is a professional historian with a doctorate from Columbia University. In writing for young people, he sometimes strikes a condescending note when he uses quotation marks to set off a phrase, but this flaw is more than made up for by his enthusiasm for teaching history and making it exciting. He writes history books for adults as well as for youths. The Sea Rovers is a recognized classic in the field of juvenile biography and history.

Marrin not only shows the forces that gave rise to piracy and the forces that swept it out of existence but provides fascinating trivia as well, which contributes to the kind of total picture that he wants to create. For example, Kidd had his own pew in Trinity Church in Manhattan, and the brass marker with his name on it is still there. Marrin also names three prominent New Yorkers who amassed fortunes as receivers of pirate loot. This fact reminds the reader that, where there are thieves, there are those getting rich from the thieves at far less risk.

The Sea Rovers demonstrates that the writing of collective biography is an art that requires skill, balance, and judgment, all of which Marrin possesses in abundance. Even more, a classic should stimulate a reader to pursue the subject, and The Sea Rovers passes this last and most important test.