Book Review | Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America

Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America

Written by Susan Goldman Rubin

Illustrated by Jeff Himmelman

Abrams, 2012

The good stuff

  • Ahoy, matey – a Jewish pirate!
  • Historical context – Rubin points out the motivation behind the piracy and privateering
  • Family connections – The inclusion of Grandmother Zora and mentions of wives and family is a nice touch and rounds out the text
  • Conflict – Tension mounts between Laffite and Governor Claiborne, even with a touch of humor
  • Author’s Note and other back matter – Always a good touch. I had been wondering about the source of the quotes and Rubin explains the contradictions in Laffite’s attitudes, particularly regarding slavery
  • Shipping/sailing terms – Adds a vibrancy to the language
  • Illustration – Action-oriented paintings

The not-so-good stuff

  • Editing – Privateer is explained on page 6 but first mentioned on page 2 and Port-au-Prince is associated with a country on page 5 but first mentioned on page 2. There’s also too much passive voice for me.
  • Dry narrative – Generates more energy when sailing terms are used and once Laffite moves to America

Overall rating:

4.2 out of 5.0

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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4 Responses to Book Review | Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America

  1. marjorie says:

    My mind is TOTALLY BLOWN. I had no idea Jean Lafitte was Jewish!

  2. Wow. I always learn something when I read your blog. I had no idea there were any Jewish pirates.

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