I'd Like A Refund Please but I Know I Won't Get It

Sunday, June 24, 2007
Don't you wish you could return a book you bought and didn't like? Just like anything else that doesn't live up to it's expectations, why shouldn't you be allow to return a book for a full refund? That's what I'd like to do after trying to read Pirates and Piracy by E. Keble Chatterton this weekend.

It looked interesting. I had a flip through, looked at the chapter titles, read the summary on the back cover. Short of reading the first chapter in the store, what else could I have done? To top it off, its a subject near and dear to the Captain's heart. Alas, what a piece of shite. Its poorly written and the quality of the print job is terrible. The publishers should be ashamed. And then, in the very first chapter, I encountered this:

They established themselves notably at Algiers, took to the sea, built themselves galleys and, after living a civilised life if Spain for seven hundred years, became for the next three centuries a scourge of the Mediterranean, a terror to ships and men, inflicted all the cruelties which the fanaticism of the Moslem race is capable of, and cast thousands of Christians into the bonds of slavery.

The "all the cruelties the fanticism of the Moslem race is capable of"? Is it just me or does this strike anyone else out there as racist? Perhaps I'm reading too much into that statement but it certainly changed my attitude about wanting to continue reading this book. I did try though. Oh yes, I did. I made it halfway through the second chapter before giving up. I refuse to waste my valuable time reading something that doesn't grab me in the first 20 pages. Not to mention something that smacks of racism. Even without that statement though, I doubt I would have read much more. It was really THAT bad.

I guess that's just the risk you take when you purchase a book rather than borrowing a copy from the library. Like Mick Jagger, I just can't get no satisfaction.


Gardenia said...

Hmmmm, this would be reason enough for some research into the history of the Muslims. (Something I need to do - I have read the Koran twice - but lacking on history of the religion, the lands, the counties, the people groups involved) At one time there was so much glory, now the strictly Muslim countries are under so much darkness it seems - I do think the author used bad wording however! And I think being Muslim (not Moslem) is a religious choice, not a "race"...?

Oh what a case for a proofreader and/or ghostwriter!

And slavery has long been a scourge not only attributed to pirates! Only the modern world has covered it up!

Wandering Coyote said...

My response to that sentence was: geez, who edited this thing? It was a terrible example of bad line editing.

However, if this is about pirates way back in the day, you can't blame the author for describing biases and attitudes that were prevalent in the time and context. We may see them as racist now - and indeed it is racist- but at the time that's how they thought.

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