Donald Barr Chidsey (1902-1981) was a frequent contributor to the pulp magazines in the 1930s, even as he developed a more socially acceptable career as a historical novelist and biographer. Early on he dabbled in private eye fiction for such magazines as Star Detective, Detective Fiction Weekly, Dime Detective, and Black Mask, where he wrote tough stuff about homicide cops and busybody newshawks. He became best known for adventure stories, swift and flavorful historical fiction, much of it set at sea, where the author had spent some time himself. His biographies included the life stories of such personages as Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720-1788) and Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618).

A rugged, handsome fellow from Elizabeth, New Jersey, Chidsey enjoyed a peripatetic, adventurous youth, including several years aboard a series of tramp steamers that took him to every exotic port on the globe. He also did time as a press agent, keeper, actor, bartender, and golf caddy. In the 1930s he lived in the South Seas, sailing about the islands on his own boat, and for a time he managed a small coconut plantation in Tahiti. During World War II Chidsey fought alongside the Free French and New Zealand forces as well as serving in the U.S. Army (stationed in North Africa). Chidsey imbued his fiction with his zest for life and adventure.

In later years he gave up fiction writing and concentrated on adult and juvenile histories and historical biographies, the work for which he was best known. In old age he lived quietly in Lyme, Connecticut.

AOS Pirate Fiction

Series: n/a

Year

 Book  Comment
  Edge of Piracy

(No information available)

  Captain Crossbones The pirate from Philadelphia and the wench from Gallow's End
  Captain Adam Adam Long was an indentured servant who made his fortune at sea against all odds

 

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