The Pirates Who's Who was written by Philip Gosse in 1924, but through the magic of the Internet, it lives on as a Project Gutenberg ebook. Also, the fact that it's so old adds to its authenticity that it was likely more researched than anything that might be published for the first time as an ebook today. This doesn't read like a lengthy version of some click-bait article.
That said, what it does read like is an encyclopedia because that's what it is. Now, there isn't anything wrong with that, except that the document format of the particular version I have could be greatly improved if it had cross-referencing hyperlinks. This is one of those times that paper beats electronic -- flipping back and forth with fingers holding your place.
Okay, so why choose this book? Subject matter, obviously. Did I realize that it would be an encyclopedia when I downloaded it? No. Was that a problem? No.
Gosse included an introduction to the book which was interesting in itself and while some entires are extremely brief, others contain stories, adventures, rises, falls and final judgments of many colorful characters. That's the heart of the book.
That said, it obviously wasn't meant to be read cover to cover, and I made it 28% of the way before moving on. Important to note: 1) I will get back to it, 2) I stopped because I had some writing to do. There was a flash fiction contest on the topic of pirates. I had thought, but I wanted some authentic background, other than looking up the differed between a buccaneer and a Corsair. I found some inspiration with stealing anyone's tales.
Unfortunately, the first draft was worse than usual, and I didn't have proper time for a second. I thought I might be able to sneak it in by, say, nine the next morning (because pirates break rules!) but the contest was already judged by that point! I guess there weren't any last minute entries.
Added note: I will get around to finishing that story. Hopefully before I finish this book.
Unfinished. I will return to it, which means either editing this entry or giving it a second one.