At the Point of a Cutlass Summary and Reviews

At the Point of a Cutlass

The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton

by Gregory N. Flemming

At the Point of a Cutlass by Gregory N. Flemming X
At the Point of a Cutlass by Gregory N. Flemming
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Based on a rare manuscript from 1725, At the Point of a Cutlass uncovers the amazing voyage of Philip Ashton - a nineteen-year old fisherman who was captured by pirates, escaped on an uninhabited Caribbean island, and then miraculously arrived back home three years later to tell his incredible story.

Taken in a surprise attack near Nova Scotia in June 1722, Ashton was forced to sail across the Atlantic and back with a crew under the command of Edward Low, a man so vicious he tortured victims by slicing off an ear or nose and roasting them over a fire. "A greater monster," one colonial official wrote, "never infested the seas." Ashton barely survived the nine months he sailed with Low's crew - he was nearly shot in the head at gunpoint, came close to drowning when a ship sank near the coast of Brazil, and was almost hanged for secretly plotting a revolt against the pirates.

Like many forced men, Ashton thought constantly about escaping. In March of 1723, he saw his chance when Low's crew anchored at the secluded island of Roatan, at the western edge of the Caribbean. Ashton fled into the thick, overgrown woods and, for more than a year, had to claw out a living on the remote strip of land, completely alone and with practically nothing to sustain him. The opportunity to escape came so unexpectedly that Ashton ran off without a gun, a knife, or even a pair of shoes on his feet. Yet the resilient young castaway - who has been called America's real-life Robinson Crusoe - was able to find food, build a crude shelter, and even survive a debilitating fever brought on by the cool winter rains before he was rescued by a band of men sailing near the island. Based on Ashton's own first-hand account, as well trial records, logbooks, and a wealth of other archival evidence, At the Point of a Cutlass pieces together the unforgettable story of a man thrust into the violent world of a pirate ship and his daring survival and escape.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Flemming's focus on individual actors adds a welcome depth to the history of piracy with this engaging and harrowing account of 'America's real-life Robinson Crusoe.'" - Publishers Weekly

"A dark and fascinating tale.  At the Point of a Cutlass takes us into corners of the pirate life we haven't been before...one of the most harrowing survival stories of the colonial era." - Stephan Talty, author of Empire of Blue Water, The Illustrious Dead, and Escape from the Land of Snows

"Flemming's account of Philip Ashton's fascinating odyssey is superb." - George C. Daughan, author of 1812: The Navy's War, and The Shining Sea: David Porter and the Epic Voyage of the U.S.S. Essex During the War of 1812

"Flemming's dramatic history of real pirates is vastly better than the Hollywood version!" - Markus Rediker, author of Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age, and The Slave Ship: A Human History

"...a meticulously researched account of an epic survival story...a thrilling voyage." - Paul Schneider, author of Old Man River: The Mississippi River in North American History, and Brutal Journey: Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America

This information about At the Point of a Cutlass shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Gregory N. Flemming

Gregory N. Flemming is a former journalist who holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives with his family in New England. His website is www.gregflemming.com.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biography/memoir...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Winter in Sokcho
    Winter in Sokcho
    by Elisa Dusapin
    Our unnamed narrator is a young French-Korean woman who works at a guest house in Sokcho, a popular ...
  • Book Jacket: Second Place
    Second Place
    by Rachel Cusk
    Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy drew much of its substance from monologues and dialogues that swirled ...
  • Book Jacket: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman is the comedic debut novel of writer Julietta Henderson. It ...
  • Book Jacket: In Search of a Kingdom
    In Search of a Kingdom
    by Laurence Bergreen
    The Age of Exploration in the early modern period, lasting roughly from the 15th through 16th ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Girl in His Shadow
by Audrey Blake
The story of one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Crossing the River
    by Carol Smith

    A powerful exploration of grief that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal.

  • Book Jacket

    Ariadne
    by Jennifer Saint

    A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

Who Said...

A book may be compared to your neighbor...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S I T closet

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.