ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean

Updated on April 19, 2010

Christopher Columbus and Jean Lafitte were Jewish?

You gotta be kiddin' me!

Edward Kritzler, author of The Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, is not kidding. He documents his narrative of exiles searching for a safe harbor with forty-five pages of notes, a four page chronology, and a web

Sir Neville Noel Ashenheim, Jamacia's first Ambassador to the United States, verifies the genealogy of Columbus while a hand-written letter from Lafitte confirms his maternal grandmother was a "Spanish-Israelite". Kritzler has lived in Jamaica for over ten years and has written hundreds of articles while assembling the research for this book.

The chronology helps organize events from 1492 through 1675.  On the day that Columbus sailed, the Jews were forced to leave Spain; ethnic cleansing had begun.  Two story lines drive the narrative: the search of a safe place to establish a home for the Jewish and the search for Columbus's gold.    As the story unfolds we meet and follow the exploits of characters whose progeny will eventually produce the brothers who make the New World safe for their people.  (Don't worry, there are no "begats".)

I found the chronology especially helpful as the events describing over 200 years often required the author to back-track or jump forward. It reminded me of my first viewing of Pulp Fiction. Kritzler does an admirable job in alerting the reader to the interruptions with important side stories. Titles of chapters indicate romance, adventure and revenge with phrases like: "the pirate rabbi", "Zion warriors", "heretic island", and "buccaneers". Readers expecting Jack Sparrow or Michael Crichton yarns will be disappointed. This is a well documented historical document about a time and place which Kritzler himself says, "begs for a novelist". Oi vey! The side stories add charm and romance to what could have been a dull recitation of genealogy and historical data. We learn the origin of the term, "amazon women", meet the real "Dutch Masters" and ride with the only crew in two centuries to capture the Spanish gold fleet. Included, also, is the story of an indentured servant who made a notorious name for himself in the New World and was later knighted by King Charles II of England.

The island of Jamaica, once owned by Columbus and his heirs, became a home for pirates that had initially found refuge on Tortuga. Many of these men had been hunters that barbequed their game on open fires called "boucan". These buccaneers soon switched from hunting animals to hunting the Spanish. They joined forces with a strict set of rules and became dreaded warriors. By the time Henry Morgan arrived, the "Golden Age of Piracy" was primed. From 1666 to 1670, under Morgan's leadership, pirates operating out of Port Royal relieved the Spanish of their wealth. In an ironic twist of fate, the marauding buccaneers used the same tactics as had the Inquisition (and in many cases, the same tools). Kritzler reports that with the favor of the island's governor and the financial support of Jewish merchants, Morgan's gang "attacked and plundered 18 cities, four towns, 35 villages, and unnumbered ships."

Dozen's of characters from desperate targets of the Spanish Inquisition to royalty of France, Spain, and England come and go throughout the story, but the primary focus is on the Cohen Brothers (obviously NOT the present day movie producers). Descendants of a rabbi who became a pirate himself, these brothers--during a twenty year span in the late 1600's--would, according to Kritzler, " most of the freedoms that Jews in the West enjoy today."


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • toknowinfo profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub. I knew some of these things, but you taught me even more. Thanks for sharing such an interesting topic. Rated up and awesome.

    • qeyler profile image


      7 years ago

      I met the author shortly before he died. I know much of the works he used to research the book; btw...I know the descendents of Moses Cohen Henriques.

    • FCEtier profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Thanks drbj and SilverGenes!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I agree with the above comments - how could this go unnoticed for so long? We may all have to get a copy and start novels! Thanks for this info - your review has put the book on my reading list now.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      This was so well-written, FCE, I was upset when your review ended. You drew me in with your narrative to such an extent I didn't want it to end when it did.

      Hard to believe that this slice of history featuring Jewish pirates has escaped the notice of those daring, avant-garde filmmakers of today, the Coen Brothers.

      Thanks for the entertaining read.

    • FCEtier profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Cold Mountain

      TO: nadp

      Hmmmm..........well, some of the adventures were romantic! :-)

    • nadp profile image


      8 years ago from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

      How very cool!!! I knew none of this. How could something like Jewish pirate have been kept such a good secret? I might even try the book. You did say there was romance, didn't you? I think that's a prerequisite for summer reading.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Very good review of this book. Thanks.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Very good review of this book. Thanks.

    • FCEtier profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Thanks for the comment Voice.

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      Terrific book hub review thanks


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)