'It is with great concern that I must still acquaint your Lordships of the daily complaints I receive of piracies and robberies committed in these parts, insomuch that there is hardly one ship or vessel, coming in or going out of this island that is not plundered.'' (Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica, June 1718) Sir Nicholas Lawes was writing to the British Government during the early 18th century, a time that later became known as the ''golden age of piracy''. In the following two centuries fictional works about pirates became increasingly popular, colouring the public perception of this terror of the seas into a romantic, swashbuckling anti-hero who forced prisoners to walk the plank and sought buried treasure where X marked the spot. And yet the reality was far more intriguing and terrible. Ruthless fighters, often horrifically violent, pirates were also outstanding sailors, cunning planners and democratic equal opportunists. Their articles, signed by all crew members (sometimes forcibly), shared the spoils fairly and demanded consideration to each other. Their treatment of prisoners, however, was another matter. In 'The Pirates Pocket-Book', the true savage story of the pirates comes to light through extracts taken from contemporary books, documents, news articles, witness accounts, and trial reports. From diaries, logbooks, letters and depositions comes the full fascinating take of a pirate''s life and death. The truth about wooden legs, parrots and the ''jolly rodger'', treasure maps, pirate attacks and infamous trials, is told through the vivid accounts of those who encountered the pirates personally, as victims, crew members or arresting officers.