David Graeber, the charismatic American academic and activist who died unexpectedly in Venice in 2020, has written some physically imposing books. Debt: The First 5000 Years, published in 2011, came in at 534 pages. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, which he co-wrote with David Wengrow, weighed in at 692 pages.

The Dawn of Everything was published in the year after Graeber’s death, and he now has a second posthumous book: Pirate Enlightenment or the Real Libertalia. This one is a mere 175 pages, but its ambition is on the same scale as the much larger books...

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