“Thoroughly engrossing . . . a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags.” —The Wall Street Journal
 
From The New York Times–bestselling author of The Ghost Map and Unexpected Life, the story of a pirate who changed the world

Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century.

Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic nonfiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.
“A kaleidoscopic rumination on the ways in which a single event, and the actions of a handful of men with no obvious access to the levers of state power, can change the course of history. . . . Steven Johnson treats us to fascinating digressions on the origins of terrorism, celebrity and the tabloid media; the tricky physics of cannon manufacture; and the miserable living conditions of the average seventeenth-century seaman.” —The New York Times Book Review

“It is the perfect book to cozy up to during a pandemic. . . . In addition to providing captivating ‘yo ho ho and a bottle of rum’ action, the author examines the geopolitical and cultural implications of Every’s spasm of violence. His subject changed the very nature and geography of piracy in the eighteenth century.” —USA Today

“Enough adventures to fill a Netflix series . . . [Johnson] skillfully makes sweeping historical points from bloody swashbuckling details.” —Star Tribune

“This thoroughly enjoyable history reveals how a single act can reverberate across centuries.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)