I loved the Republic of Pirates. There is only so much original source material, so the pirate aspect will be familiar to many of you. What was different was the emphasis on just how amazingly bad conditions were for merchant mariners who were NOT pirates. It is no surprise, given how the British sailors were treated, that many of them would readily turn to piracy. They were in many ways literally slaves, their pay was frequently delayed or withheld altogether and the Royal Navy could come by any time and grab you. Merchant or Navy, either way you were likely to be spending your life in some kind of twisted S&M floating dungeon.
It was no wonder piracy flourished even without the lure of perhaps becoming rich beyond the wildest dreams of a poor sailor.