Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia Audiobook, by David Graeber
Play Audiobook Sample

Download Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia Audiobook

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia Audiobook, by David Graeber
Play Audiobook Sample
FlexPass™ Price: $15.95
$7.95 for new members!(Includes UNLIMITED podcast listening) Add to Cart learn more
Regular Price: $19.99 Add to Cart
Author: David Graeber Narrator: Roger Davis, Mark Williams Publisher: Macmillan Audio Audio Length: Release Date: January 2023 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781250883544

Publisher Description

The final posthumous work by the coauthor of the major New York Times bestseller The Dawn of Everything. Pirates have long lived in the realm of romance and fantasy, symbolizing risk, lawlessness, and radical visions of freedom. But at the root of this mythology is a rich history of pirate societies—vibrant, imaginative experiments in self-governance and alternative social formations at the edges of the European empire. In graduate school, David Graeber conducted ethnographic field research in Madagascar for his doctoral thesis on the island’s politics and history of slavery and magic. During this time, he encountered the Zana-Malata, an ethnic group of mixed descendants of the many pirates who settled on the island at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia, Graeber’s final posthumous book, is the outgrowth of this early research and the culmination of ideas that he developed in his classic, bestselling works Debt and The Dawn of Everything (written with the archaeologist David Wengrow). In this lively, incisive exploration, Graeber considers how the protodemocratic, even libertarian practices of the Zana-Malata came to shape the Enlightenment project defined for too long as distinctly European. He illuminates the non-European origins of what we consider to be “Western” thought and endeavors to recover forgotten forms of social and political order that gesture toward new, hopeful possibilities for the future. A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Download and start listening now!


  • Radical, magical and enchanting: a true history of a people’s Enlightenment, led by Malagasy women and egalitarian pirates at a crossroads of the world, a land of battle, foment, booty, whose inhabitants liked nothing better than pranking outsiders to spread outlandish tales of their lives.

    - Cory Doctorow, author of Chokepoint Capitalism and Walkaway
  • In The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber urged historically minded scholars to consider the ways that human beings have continually pursued three basic freedoms, including the freedom to create new forms of social relations. In this book, he provides a fascinating example of the transformative potential of this proposition. Showing how rumored 18th century ‘pirate kingdoms’ established in Madagascar can be understood from the perspective of the local Malagasy population, Graeber gives us a glimpse of people, men and women, taking control of the society in which they lived, making new forms of sociality. He links this historical exploration to a second theme of the previous work, the fact that European political philosophers in the 17th and 18th century were responding to ideas coming from outside Europe, providing them inspiration to image freedoms they had not previously experienced. Pirate Enlightenment is, as the author writes, a provocation—but also an inspiration; and a great piece of story-telling.

    - Rosemary A. Joyce, Interim Director of Global, International, and Area Studies, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
  • "A tour de force of anthropological scholarship and an important addition to Malagasy history . . . Certain to be controversial, but all the more important for that.

    - Kirkus
  • Pirates captured the imagination of writers and readers centuries ago, and David Graeber reveals why. He has produced one of the most fascinating, original, and altogether brilliant books ever written about these unruly outlaws.

    - Marcus Rediker, author of Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age
  • Daring, carefully speculative, and intellectually ambitious: all qualities that we had come to expect of the late David Graeber. Pirate Enlightenment is a splendid example of Graeber’s transformative and convincing case that the Enlightenment was a cosmopolitan and plebian concoction, fabricated far from the European centers of Enlightenment thought.

    - James C. Scott

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!

About the Author

David Graeber (1961—2020) was a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory and was a contributor to Harper’s Magazine, the London Guardian, and The Baffler. An iconic thinker and renowned activist, his early efforts in Zuccotti Park made Occupy Wall Street an era-defining movement.

About the Narrator

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of numerous books, including Full Catastrophe Living, Arriving at Your Own Door, and Coming to Our Senses.