Christopher Columbus and Jean Lafitte were Jewish? You gotta be kiddin' me!
Edward Kritzler, author of The Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, is not kidding. He documents his narrative of exiles searching for a safe harbor with forty-five pages of notes, a four page chronology, and a web site: http://jewishpiratesofthecaribbean.com/. Sir Neville Noel Ashenheim, Jamacia's first Ambassador to the United States, verifies the genealogy of Columbus while a hand-written letter from Lafitte confirms his maternal grandmother was a "Spanish-Israelite." Kritzler has lived in Jamaica for over ten years and has written hundreds of articles while assembling the research for this book. The chronology helps organize events from 1492 through 1675. On the day that Columbus sailed, the Jews were forced to leave Spain; ethnic cleansing had begun. Two story lines drive the narrative: the search of a safe place to establish a home for the Jewish and the search for Columbus's gold. As the story unfolds we meet and follow the exploits of characters whose progeny will eventually produce the brothers who make the New World safe for their people. (Don't worry, there are no "begats".)
I found the chronology especially helpful as the events describing over 200 years often required the author to back-track or jump forward. It reminded me of my first viewing of Pulp Fiction. Kritzler does an admirable job in alerting the reader to the interruptions with important side stories. Titles of chapters indicate romance, adventure and revenge with phrases like: "the pirate rabbi," "Zion warriors," "heretic island," and "buccaneers." Readers expecting Jack Sparrow or Michael Crichton yarns will be disappointed. This is a well documented historical document about a time and place which Kritzler himself says, "begs for a novelist." Oi vey! The side stories add charm and romance to what could have been a dull recitation of genealogy and historical data. We learn the origin of the term, "amazon women," meet the real "Dutch Masters" and ride with the only crew in two centuries to capture the Spanish gold fleet. Included, also, is the story of an indentured servant who made a notorious name for himself in the New World and was later knighted by King Charles II of England.