MWSA Interview January 2019
With a lifelong passion for history, Robert Jacob has been heavily involved in living history interpretation and reenacting for over 40 years. He has participated in activities covering a wide range of time periods including numerous French and Indian War and Revolutionary War reenactment groups, Western Gun Fighter groups, regularly attending Mountain Man Rendezvous and Renaissance Fairs. During the past 12 years he has focused on the golden age of piracy with a concentration on Blackbeard.
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Robert graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor’s Degree in education in 1978. He taught in the West Point public school district, West Point, VA for five years while completing his Master’s Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983.
In 1982, Robert entered the United States Marine Corps reserve and augmented to active duty in 1983. During his service, he became a military occupational specialty instructor and earned the designation of Master Training Specialist. Later in his career, he became the Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment at the same school where he had earlier instructed. He achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 and retired after 31 years of service in 2013.
While researching information on the golden age of piracy, Robert realized that most of the publications on the subject were contradictory and even incorrect. This motivated him to write his current publication, “A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy.”
MWSA Why did you become an author in the first place?
Jacobs I am a living history historian and re-enactor. In 2006, I became interested in pirates and began to do research. I was continually disappointed as I read literally every book on pirates that I could find. Over time, I began to realize that I could do a better job. That was the start of this book. After ten years of research and literary composition, my book was published.
MWSA When and why did you join MWSA?
Jacobs Back in August of 2018 just after my book was published, I began looking for organizations to join in order to connect socially with experienced authors and publishers, to learn about the strange and confusing world of marketing literary works, and to network within the publishing world. In googling organizations, I found the MWSA and immediately joined.
MWSA Why did you choose to work in this genre?
Jacobs I have always loved history. It is the only genre I regularly read.
MWSA Will you briefly list your other books for us?
Jacobs This is my first one.
MWSA Tell us a little bit about this book.
Jacobs In researching the historical record of pirates in the golden age of piracy, I quickly realized that many of those books were contradictory, non-factual, or downright wrong. Even the good ones didn’t tell the entire story. I have gotten to the truth about all the most famous and important privateers and pirates between 1625 and 1722 and tell their stories in a chronological order, tying in the politics of the day. I also delve into their daily lifestyles, even describing what they ate and how they dressed.
MWSA What made you interested in writing a book on this particular topic?
Jacobs As mentioned above, I am a living historian and re-enactor who became interested in pirates. As I researched the topic, I quickly realized that most of the books on the market were inaccurate, poorly written, narrowly focused, or just rehashes of earlier publications. There needed to be one book that told the entire true story of pirates in the golden age. What began as a small historical document I intended to share with my fellow re-enactors, eventually developed into my book, “A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy.”
MWSA What makes this particular book special to you?
Jacobs In addition to being my first book, it is definitely a produce of intense research over a ten-year period. Beyond that, it is precisely the book I wanted to read when back in 2006. It is a work that I am very proud of.