Treasure and Intrigue: The Legacy of Captain Kidd

Description

348 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
$22.99
ISBN 1-55002-409-4
DDC 364.16'4

Publisher

Year

2002

Contributor

Reviewed by Danial Duda

Danial Duda is an information services librarian in the Queen Elizabeth
II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Review

William Kidd became one of the most-wanted pirates on the high seas. In
this book, Graham Harris offers several theories as to where Kidd’s
pirate treasure is—or was—hidden. He also gives a good overview of
what piracy was like in the late 17th century. Unfortunately, he relies
too heavily on direct quotations from other works (some of them go on
for several pages), and not enough on his own analysis.

Harris’s explanation of what happened to the treasure reads like a
conspiracy theory. Kidd was executed in 1701 in order to placate Indian
Moguls whose goods had been stolen. When Kidd offered to trade the
treasure (100,000 pounds sterling) for his life, the British authorities
refused. Why? According to Harris, they knew where the treasure was
hidden, thanks to informants against Kidd. Thus, with Kidd’s
execution, the British got both their political wishes and the treasure.
Harris provides no evidence to back up this claim, and he repeats this
shortcoming in his discussion of the Kidd-Palmer maps (a set of maps
showing the treasure’s location that surfaced in the 1930s and were
subsequently deemed fraudulent).

The author hopes that other researchers will answer the questions he
has raised. It is an intriguing story, and Harris puts forward some
interesting theories, but after 348 pages the reader is left with
nothing but speculation.

Citation

Harris, Graham., “Treasure and Intrigue: The Legacy of Captain Kidd,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17386.