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Robinson Crusoe [Paperback]

Daniel Defoe , Michael Shinagel
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 17 1993 0393964523 978-0393964523 2nd Revised edition
This classic story of a shipwrecked mariner on a deserted island is perhaps the greatest adventure in all of English literature. Fleeing from pirates, Robinson Crusoe is swept ashore in a storm possessing only a knife, a box of tobacco, a pipe-and the will to survive. His is the saga of a man alone: a man who overcomes self-pity and despair to reconstruct his life; who painstakingly teaches himself how to fashion a pot, bake bread, build a canoe; and who, after twenty-four agonizing years of solitude, discovers a human footprint in the sand... Consistently popular since its first publication in 1719, Daniel Defoe's story of human endurance in an exotic, faraway land exerts a timeless appeal. The first important English novel, "Robinson Crusoe" has taken its rightful place among the great myths of Western civilization.

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"Evan Davis has done an excellent job of bringing together many of the strands of thought that Defoe put into The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe—his interests in travel, economics, religion, and the experience of solitude—and putting them into an attractive format. Professor Davis supplies examples of texts on related topics such as solitude, cannibalism, and castaway narratives, along with a group of wonderful illustrations, including a large number of Crusoe and Friday, showing everything from the sympathetic and helpful Crusoe to Crusoe the colonialist and exploiter. These are well chosen to make points about the ways in which Crusoe fits into the interests of post-colonial criticism. Professor Davis is also very good in his introduction on the ambiguity with which Crusoe treats Friday. Is he a friend, a servant, or a slave? Or all three? This will be a useful and indeed an exciting text for students at all levels." (Maximillian E. Novak)

"This edition greatly enriches the reader's appreciation of Robinson Crusoe both as a classic that transcends its historical origins and as a text that reflects a specific historical context. In each role, the novel can be viewed from many perspectives, ranging from those embodied in other writings by Defoe and his contemporaries to later ideas about psychology, economics, religion, and post-colonialism, and the introduction and appendices give the reader access to an extraordinarily copious array of these perspectives. The introduction, moreover, goes well beyond compiling viewpoints: while elegantly marshaling information, Evan R. Davis also contests received opinion and offers fresh insights. This is an extremely useful edition for students, general readers, and even those already well-acquainted with Defoe." (Oscar Kenshur) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unhurriedly Pragmatic Adventure Story June 28 2003
In the literary world it is perhaps blasphemy to say a bad word against Daniel Defoe's most acclaimed novel. So here goes. The fact that the book was originally titled The Life And Strange Surprising Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe illustrates the major flaw in Defoe's literary form. Put simply, this would be a far more interesting and gripping story were it not so superfluously lengthy. The author makes a habit of repeating himself, especially when it comes to the act of dispatching kittens, which seems to be more of an obsession here than octogenarian ladies are to MatronsApron. It is difficult, you may think, to keep the subject matter fresh when describing the daily tribulations of a fellow stranded on an island for thirty years, without occasionally repeating yourself. True, but perhaps a straightforward solution to this diminutive quandary would be to simply truncate the duration of the story. There are some wonderfully intriguing and suspenseful moments, and some juicy action to boot, but sadly these are gratuitously diluted by lengthy descriptions of the unremarkable everyday goings on in Crusoe's life, and rather than serving to build up the suspense, they merely obstruct the reader's relationship with the more exciting parts of the story.
However, those with more patience than my ignorant self will find in Robinson Crusoe a delightful tale, which as well as being a fictional documentary of the most unusual thirty years of Mr. Crusoe's life, also has time to ponder upon philosophical and theological ideas, in a style that makes the reader feel as if they are involved in the conflicts between the functionalist and cynical thoughts going on in Crusoe's mind. It may not be a gripping white-knuckle adventure, being rather more leisurely and acquiescent, but it is still rather easy to see why Robinson Crusoe is regarded by some as one of the greatest novels of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original castaway Feb. 20 2002
By A.J.
As a boy growing up in 17th Century England, all Robinson Crusoe wanted to do was be a sailor. His parents tried to dissuade him -- it was a dangerous occupation, and certainly a middle class child like him could find a calling much safer and more comfortable. Naturally, he didn't listen, and essentially ran away from home, finding opportunities to sail on a few ships and encountering a few dangers until he finally reached Brazil, bought a plantation, and looked forward to that comfortable life of prosperity his parents said would be his if he'd only use his head.
But Crusoe is one to push fate. He embarks on a ship bound for Africa to collect slaves, and during a storm in the Caribbean Sea, the ship is wrecked and the crew drowned except for Crusoe, who manages to swim to the shore of a deserted island. Unable to get back to civilization, he salvages as many goods as he can from the wrecked ship and resolves to survive as long as possible in this new, unwelcome habitat.
Crusoe's resourcefulness is astounding. He builds a sophisticated hut/tent/cave complex to live in, hunts goats and fowl, harvests fruit, and figures out how to grow barley, rice, and corn, bake bread, and make earthenware vessels. After living this way for nearly two peaceful decades, Crusoe discovers that savages from a distant island are using his island for their cannibal feasts. He manages to save the life of one of their potential victims, a savage he names Friday, who becomes his faithful servant. With Friday's help, Crusoe realizes he now has a chance to escape the island once and for all and get back to civilization, although his plans don't proceed quite as he envisioned them.
"Robinson Crusoe" is a neatly woven adventure yarn, but under the surface there are several themes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read Jan. 25 2002
Do you remember the last time you got lost? Well if you do you must know how Robinson Crusoe feels. This story is about survival and it is a very interesting story that you can learn how to survive when you get lost. One day in the deep waters of the Pacific ocean, a man named Robinson Crusoe's ship had crash in some corals. He found himself on a beautiful island full of life.
He passed the night under some big trees of the island. Robinson Crusoe decided it was a beautiful day to explore around the island. He had a rifle with two barrels full ammo which if you don't know it's plenty for a life time. Robinson was far from the coast when he heard a weird noise. When he looked back it was a fierceful orange tiger. He remembered he had made a hole covered with palms and he quickly ran to it. The tiger fell in the hole and in one month he was very obedient. One year passed and he finally built a home in a cave and with a fence to keep himself safety. Soon an earthquake occurs. His cave fell down and his tiger was killed. Robinson Crusoe was very upset because it was his only friend in the island. Robinson Crusoe soon gets to know all the island and he found something very strange. If you want to know what Robinson Crusoe finds read the book!! It is awesome.
I think this is an excellent book that explains how Robinson Crusoe survived his cast away. The author of this book is Daniel Defoe. He is an author who likes to write adventurous books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not a book about living on an island... Jan. 24 2002
By A Customer
It con-founds the mind to read someone's review of a 300 year old book and see that they were put out by all that 'religious stuff'. Like somehow the world has been wrong about one of the greatest works of literature for 3 centuries, that is until some Generation X-er comes along in 2001 and causes everyone to realize this is just a boring book, written by some racist capitalist guy who likes to use big words! Of course!, how could we have been so stupid?
No,'dude', this is a book about how we as humans will always suffer until we admit and submit to the one true God. In other words it's a religious journey. This is a book about the folly of youth, when you believe you can conquer the world and what happens when you try without any faith being involved in it.
As for the slavery aspect, the fact is Crusoe himself was made a slave for years and I don't hear anyone complaining about it. At this point in world history slavery or servitude was an accepted behavior, like it or not. Anyone could be a slave, of any race or color as the book points out. Friday submitted will-fully to Robinson out of gratitude for Crusoe having saved his life. He wasn't kept tied up out back like a dog, Robinson loved this man and his love was returned. Robinson loved him enough to teach him Christianity and to turn from his cannibal ways.
I love how it's always the 'open-minded' people who are the first to want to burn the books they don't like.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars flora and fauna
Poor Robinson being stranded on a tropical island never encountered a coconut tree, or a banano, or a mango tree, or a papaya tree, or a guava tree, but lucky him he did find... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Milvio Ramirez
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible editing!!!
This is one of my all time favourite books and was looking forward to having it in hardcover.

My low rating is that this book is misprinted!!!! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Peter Hollister
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Moral Novel
Possibly based on the true account of Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe is set some decades before that unfortunate event, in the mid-1600's. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2012 by Gaboora
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile!
I thought that I had read this book as a child!

Clearly, it was an adapted version since this unabridged edition provides much more detail as to Robinson's life before... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2010 by Pierre Gauthier
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Great book! The beginning is a little long but give it a chance and it gets really good. Especially if you like tv shows like Survivor. It's a great story. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2009 by K. Schlaht
5.0 out of 5 stars The old, wordy classic
This seventeenth century classic chronicles the story of Robinson Crusoe, an Englishman who leaves his family for a sea career. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Tobin Sparfeld
4.0 out of 5 stars High literary and historic value but aged entertainment
The world knows of and has been inspired time after time by the story of ROBINSON CRUSOE, but how many people have read it in recent generations? Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by C. Ebeling
This critique is on Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. The story is about a young man, Robinson Crusoe, and his journey from a rich life in England to being a mariner and eventually... Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2003 by Rehan Yazdani
2.0 out of 5 stars Felt like a college assignment
Robinson Crusoe was my book club's choice for June. Only 2 out of the 12 of us stayed with it and read it. Read more
Published on July 19 2003 by K Spangler
5.0 out of 5 stars Great language and characterization
This is not a novel for those who like quick action and a lot of dialogue. Robinson Crusoe is superbly written, and tends to draw out the events, with a great deal of imagery... Read more
Published on July 18 2003 by "lovely7980"
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