Born in Key West, Florida, Benerson Little grew up variously on all three US coasts. Following his graduation from Tulane University, he entered the US Navy and served as an officer for eight years, most of them as a Navy SEAL. Upon completion of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in 1983 (BUD/S Class 121), he was assigned first to SEAL Team THREE where he served as assistant platoon commander, then to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE where he served as a platoon commander. After leaving the Navy in 1989, he worked as a special operations and intelligence analyst, including for the Naval Special Warfare Strategy and Tactics Group and a private intelligence collection and analysis firm, among other professions.
He now works as a writer and consultant in several areas, with an emphasis on maritime and naval issues, including maritime threat and security, and especially maritime history. He is considered a leading expert on piracy past and present, and is a recognized expert on pirate tactics and anti-piracy operations throughout history. He has appeared in two television documentaries on piracy, has advised on others, and was the STARZ cable network’s historical consultant for its Black Sails series for all four seasons. He is the historical consultant to Firelock Games, advising on its acclaimed Blood & Plunder and Oak & Iron tabletop war games, and on others as well. He often advises film-makers, novelists, historians, biographers, genealogists, treasure hunters, forensic document examiners, playwrights, journalists, handwriting experts, and others.
Although he considers San Diego his hometown, he lives in Huntsville, Alabama with his wife Mary, his son Aidan, and his daughter Eleanor. He also has two adult daughters, Courtney and Bree, with whom he is very close: the former recently finished her graduate degree, the latter is working toward hers. In his spare time he teaches modern fencing at the Huntsville Fencing Club (and is at present writing his fencing master thesis), researches historical fencing, writes contemporary and historical novels, and develops proposals for potential television documentaries and series. At present he is at work on a sixth non-fiction book related to piracy and privateering, on a 100th anniversary annotated edition of Captain Blood: His Odyssey by Rafael Sabatini, on a pair of contemporary novels, and on the sequels to Fortune’s Whelp.
The Golden Age of Piracy describes the truth behind the great pirate myths, legends, and misconceptions, via narrative pirate histories. As with the title below, the book will put readers amidst the action. The book was published in October 2016.
Fortune’s Whelp is historically accurate swashbuckling seagoing adventure set in the late seventeenth century. Fiction, 2016, Penmore Press.
How History’s Greatest Pirates Pillaged, Plundered, and Got Away With It brings pirate stories and tactics to life for a broad audience. Thoroughly researched, these narrative pirate histories put readers in the middle of the action.
Pirate Hunting was inspired by the need to look at piracy and other forms of sea roving from their earliest record to the present, and in particular at the measures taken to counter them. Besides being an opportunity to look at six millennia of maritime history, the subject has practical appeal today, given the increase in international piracy.
The Buccaneer’s Realm was born of an interest in the role of the buccaneer, filibuster, and Spanish pirate in the development of the New World, as well as how these sea rovers influenced and were influenced by the variety of cultures and physical environments of a frontier comprising one third of the entire world.
The Sea Rover’s Practice was born of a lifelong interest in pirates and privateers, an interest originally inspired by the sea, by the fiction of Stevenson, Sabatini, and Steinbeck, by the illustrations of Pyle and Wyeth, and by the journals of Exquemelin, Dampier, and Rogers. Originally researched both for personal interest and to support the writing of historical fiction, the author soon turned the material into a book to fill a void in the literature of the sea.
Resumé & CV
January 2000 – Present: Published Author, Maritime Analyst, Historian, Historical Consultant, Novelist. Author of five published non-fiction books on historical and modern piracy, three of them scholarly, all of them with solid scholarly research. A novel, Fortune’s Whelp, was published in December 2015. Author of articles on piracy and maritime terrorism, and lecturer on same. Considered one of the leading authorities on piracy past and present; recognized expert on pirate tactics and anti-piracy operations throughout history. Current projects include historical consulting for the STARZ cable television network show Black Sails for all four seasons, and for the miniature war game company Firelock Games, creator of “Blood & Plunder” and “Oak & Iron.” Consultant to film and television producers, script writers, historians, journalists, biographers, novelists, treasure hunters, game designers, genealogists, and others.
May 1997 – December 1999: Intelligence Analyst and Writer for an intelligence collection, analysis, and countermeasures firm. Conducted HUMINT intelligence operations and analysis, including direct intelligence gathering and analysis; threat assessments; business leader profiling; and the development of counterintelligence systems. Corporate clients were typically Fortune 500 companies.
July 1993 – April 1997: Senior Technical Writer in the telecommunications industry. Also consulted part-time as a research analyst in the areas of HUMINT intelligence collection and analysis, and maritime special operations.
June 1989 – January 1991: Naval Special Warfare Analyst and Project Manager. Primary responsibilities included developing tactics, and researching, writing, editing, and validating original tactical and strategic documents for Naval Special Warfare (SEAL Team) planners and operators. Areas of study included combat swimming, maritime threats and countermeasures, air operations, and land warfare.
September 1981 – April 1989: Commissioned Officer in the U. S. Navy and a U. S. Navy SEAL.Graduate of BUD/S Class 121. Served at SEAL Team THREE as an assistant platoon commander and diving officer, and at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE as a platoon commander, training officer, assistant operations officer, and diving officer.
Fencing Experience: Forty-two years fencing, twenty-two years teaching fencing, twenty years as head instructor and co-director of the Huntsville Fencing Club. Studied swordplay under Dr. Francis Zold and Dr. Eugene Hamori.
A list of written works, lectures, and related work is listed on the Works page.