Cup of Gold

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This article is about the novel. For the tropical tree-climbing plant, see Solandra maxima.
Cup of Gold
First edition cover
Author John Steinbeck
Country United States
Language English
Publisher McBride & Co.
Publication date

Cup of Gold: A life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History (1929) was John Steinbeck's first novel, a work of historical fiction based loosely on the life and death of 17th century privateer Henry Morgan. It centres on Morgan's assault and sacking of Panama City (the "Cup of Gold"), and the woman fairer than the sun reputed to be found there.[1][2]

Release details[edit]

  • 1929, USA, Publisher, McBride & Co. (First edition, first issue) only 1537 copies of yellow cloth first printing
  • 1929, USA, Publisher, Popular Library (First paperback edition) "A Lusty Buccaneer Novel" [The Popular Library edition was published in 1949 (Popular Library #216). Popular Library was not in business in 1929, having been formed in 1942]
  • 1936, USA, Publisher, Covici-Friede (First Edition, second issue) Maroon cloth binding (only 939 copies)
  • 1995, UK, Penguin Books (ISBN 0-14-018743-X), Pub date ? ? 1995, paperback[3][4]

Warren G. French wrote a book reflecting all the nonfiction novels that John Steinbeck had written. He talks about how Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History was John Steinbeck's first novel. According to a quote from Steinbeck this novel was not his best piece of work because he was just trying to earn some fast money. French then goes on to talk about how Henry was a young boy listening to an old farm hand who left to see the world but ended up becoming a pirate. The old farm hand told the Morgans of his adventures as a pirate then leaves by morning. Those stories encouraged Henry to leave home to become a pirate also. Henry became a famous Captain who had two goals, to capture Panama from the Spanish and to win the heart of the Red Saint. Everything that Captain Henry Morgan aimed to achieve he would be so successful that he became the best Captain on the Sea. Captain Morgan proceeded to capture Panama with the Red Saint waiting inside the city. The city was easily taken but the red Saint put up a fight. After Morgan and his crew raided the city they left with riches and no Red Saint. Henry Morgan ended his career as a pirate and was knighted by the King. The King placed Morgan in charge of disciplining any and all pirates. Henry Morgan went from farm boy to pirate to high class man.[5]


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  4. ^ Popular Library
  5. ^ “Two False Starts.” John Steinbeck’s Fiction Revisited. Warren G. French. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1994. 38-43. Twayne’s United States Authors Seriers 638. Twayne’s Aunthors on GVRL. Web 7 Apr. 2015.