At the Point of a Cutlass

The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton

“Delivers blood-thirsty pirates and plenty of action and excitement on the high seas. …In Ashton’s story, Flemming struck it rich.”

Boston Globe

“Paints an indelible picture of pirate life, day by day… compelling, dramatic reading.”

Dallas Morning News

Based on a rare manuscript from 1725, At the Point of a Cutlass uncovers the amazing voyage of Philip Ashton — a nineteen-year old fisherman who was captured by pirates, escaped on an uninhabited Caribbean island, and then miraculously arrived back home three years later to tell his incredible story.

Drawn from Ashton’s own first-person account, as well as logbooks, trial records, and new archival evidence, At the Point of a Cutlass opens a fascinating window into the world of a pirate ship and the daring life of a castaway nearly three hundred years ago.

From battles with warships to the way the pirates split their plunder, Flemming’s focus on individual actors adds a welcome depth to the history of piracy with this engaging and harrowing account of “America’s real-life Robinson Crusoe.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review).

“Flemming’s dramatic history of real pirates is vastly better than the Hollywood version!”

–Markus Rediker, author of Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age, and The Slave Ship: A Human History.

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