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In 1822, Aaron Smith, a young English seaman, was taken captive by Cuban pirates when his ship was boarded en route from Jamaica to England. Forced to work as a navigator and as a member of pirate boarding parties, he witnessed unspeakable acts of murder and torture. Befriended by a young Cuban woman, he managed to escape with his life, but was arrested as a pirate in Havana and sent back to England in chains. There, he found himself on trial for his life at the Old Bailey courthouse—with the attorney general himself leading the prosecution. Smith's dramatic account of his personal experience is a brutally honest, unromanticized [sic] look at piracy in the 19th century.
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