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Enemy Of All Mankind


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"Most confrontations, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet."

About the Author

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of twelve books, including Where Good Ideas Come From, Farsighted, and The Ghost Map. He's the host and co-creator of the Emmy-winning PBS/BBC series How We Got to Now, and the host of the podcast American Innovations. He lives in Brooklyn and Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.


"A kaleidoscopic rumination on the ways in which a single event, and the actions of a handful of men with no obvious access to the levers of state power, can change the course of history. . . . Steven Johnson treats us to fascinating digressions on the origins of terrorism, celebrity and the tabloid media; the tricky physics of cannon manufacture; and the miserable living conditions of the average seventeenth-century seaman." --The New York Times Book Review "Steven Johnson argues with verve and conviction in his thoroughly engrossing Enemy of All Mankind ... Because Enemy of All Mankind offers, among its many pleasures, a solid mystery story, it would be wrong to reveal the outcome. But it's surprising. So, too, are the many larger themes that Mr. Johnson persuasively draws from his seaborne marauders...All the author's more surprising suppositions are not merely stapled onto the narrative but seem to have grown there effortlessly during the course of a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags." --The Wall Street Journal

"... [a] page-turner of a book ... we can thank Johnson for combing the archives, describing in vivid detail the life of pirates that we thought we knew--most likely through motion pictures--when in truth we didn't ... Enemy of all Mankind covers lots of territory, including the beginnings of the British Empire, and it's a good read, made all the better by Johnson's clever storytelling and an unforgettable pirate named Henry Every." --The Washington Post "It is the perfect book to cozy up to during a pandemic. . . . In addition to providing captivating 'yo ho ho and a bottle of rum' action, the author examines the geopolitical and cultural implications of Every's spasm of violence. His subject changed the very nature and geography of piracy in the eighteenth century." --USA Today "Enough adventures to fill a Netflix series . . . [Johnson] skillfully makes sweeping historical points from bloody swashbuckling details." --Star Tribune "... entertaining and erudite ... Johnson's lucid prose and sophisticated analysis brings these events to vibrant life. This thoroughly enjoyable history reveals how a single act can reverberate across centuries." --Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Johnson is one of those polymath writers who links events and subjects most of us wouldn't see as related, always to enlightening effect ... intriguing...relevant to our own world. Johnson doesn't just write about the heyday of piracy; he connects it to the growth of nation-states, the history of the first multinational corporation, the origins of democracy and the birth of the tabloid media, among other things ... an amazing story, but the real one Johnson tells in Enemy of All Mankind is even more so." --The Tampa Bay Times "Johnson weaves a tapestry of treasure, tribunals, emperors, atrocities, and a pirate's life at sea ... Consummate popular history: fast-paced, intelligent, and entertaining." --Library Journal

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