“The Strand in New York City is the book hunter’s dream. They have everything there, from the hottest bestsellers of the month to vintage copies of Jane Austen. In the spring of 2007, I was deep in the upstairs stacks, the place where they restore and house the rare books. I hadn’t even intended to buy anything; I was quite content touching absolutely everything just to have a passing connection with history.
But then, under a pile of old business texts, I found a slim, unmarked book. Flipping open to the cover page, I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat. It was an original copy of A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates, the canonical piratical text. The author was still listed as Captain Charles Johnson, a pseudonym that was changed in later reprints to the (supposed) actual author, Daniel Defoe (Robinson Cursoe).
They sold it to me for a paltry (PALTRY) $75. It remains the gem of my book collection.”