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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative, pioneering adventure tale
Not only is Robinson Crusoe an extremely well written, entertaining novel, but it was the first of its kind. Defoe's novel is fresh and intriguing today just as it was when written.
Defoe's language reveals classic appreciation of the English language that really appealed to me as a reader. His narrative accounts of adventure, shipwrecks and survival are precise...
Published on June 8 2004 by C. Stephans

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unknown Classic
Robinson Crusoe is one of the most famous stories that we all know. What most don't know is that the story is about much more than simply being shipwrecked. It's about man's view on God and his place in the universe and his faith in himself. RC is a good book, though I think a bit laborious. I think that the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks has conditioned us...
Published on April 7 2004 by Christopher Braden


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative, pioneering adventure tale, June 8 2004
By 
C. Stephans - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)
Not only is Robinson Crusoe an extremely well written, entertaining novel, but it was the first of its kind. Defoe's novel is fresh and intriguing today just as it was when written.
Defoe's language reveals classic appreciation of the English language that really appealed to me as a reader. His narrative accounts of adventure, shipwrecks and survival are precise and captivating. this book is made up of many short stories tied together in following the main character. The character grows and matures through his trials and becomes a man worthy of emulation.
Defoe shows brilliant insight into humanity through his writing as his main character challenges nature, savages, and his inner darkness. I enjoyed the spiritual aspects of the book. Any close look at a character such as Crusoe would be lacking if it did not follow his spiritual transformation as well as his physical changes.
There are some brief slow parts interspersed in the book that are more like speedbumps in a great tale that many have tried to imitate but failed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "castaway" + "lord of the flies" = Robinson Crusoe, May 8 2004
By 
"mulebennett3" (Charlottesville, VA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Hardcover)
By now you know that Robinson Crusoe is a tale of a man shipwrecked on a deserted island. He lives off the land for 20-some years and develops all sorts of survival skills. With that said, here is my review:
My assignment in English class was to choose a book from the Romantic period. There was an abundance of girly stories, so I chose a book that I would feel comfortable reading--Robinson Crusoe.
The book is not terribly long, like other books in this era (Three Musketeers), though it is not a quick read. The book is enjoyable, but it took a lot of sitting down and trying to focus. It was easy to read, probably suitable for 8th graders, but I had trouble getting through the book, especially during the slow parts, and I'm a fast reader.
Robinson Crusoe is filled with religion, which put me off a bit. While I don't want to spoil anything, he allows freedom of religion on his island, but tries to make his Protestant buddy Friday convert to Christianity.
This story is definitely worth reading, especially because at some point you'll probably need to read it for school. It's a fun book, however it has dark moments, and some questionable incidents, such as selling a comrade into slavery. It is one of the better school-books I've read, having suffered through Scarlet Letter and other Puritan literature.
This book has been popular since it was published in the 1700s, an impressive feat. It is clearly a classic novel, and the sketchy scenes were normal back in the Romantic period. Slavery, racism, and no PETA means that this book was written without the limits we see today. Go ahead and read it if you like adventure or the movie Castaway. Four stars for good plot, good character development, bad slow parts, and overkill religious devotion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unknown Classic, April 7 2004
By 
Christopher Braden (Herndon, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)
Robinson Crusoe is one of the most famous stories that we all know. What most don't know is that the story is about much more than simply being shipwrecked. It's about man's view on God and his place in the universe and his faith in himself. RC is a good book, though I think a bit laborious. I think that the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks has conditioned us to think of shipwreck stories lasting only a few years. This story lasts 26 years and is, as a result, very elaborate. I found it interesting to see how the author delved so deeply in the main character's religious beliefs and how they so strongly impacted his thoughts and actions. The book did have a bit too much of a feel good aspect to it in that things were either going very well or very poorly for the castaway, though I think that is somewhat symptomatic of the time it was written in. The work is perhaps more impressive when you consider that it was basically illegal to write this kind of story back then. It had to be written from the first person perspective, almost as an historical or autobiographical piece in order for Defoe to get it published. To that end, this was truly one of the first of the novels in the historical genre that was later followed by Sir Walter Scott who wrote Ivanhoe and Rob Roy, among others.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a quandary of a critical shipwreck, Oct. 4 2003
Defoe's book is one of the first English novels and a prime example of Restoration literature because, hey, nothing reinvigorates a nation like a spicy tale of shipwreck and pirates. Loosely based on a true story, "Robinson Crusoe" is about a young sailor-trader-vagrant who runs away from home and his father's urgings to pursue law. His little sailing adventure quickly goes awry, and before long, visions of "Castaway" will dance in your head.
The bulk of the story takes place on the island where he's isolated for years, and years, and years, and without television or a good book. As a result, Defoe saturates this novel with description, preening into the tiniest details of daily shipwreck life. His focus on the mundane is wonderful - for the first 3 days of island captivity - but quickly bores after that. The true adventure lies in Crusoe's bold character rather than island logistics and could be further explored with the events that sandwiched his solitude.
Without a doubt though, this is a classic that leaves much to be digested. Crusoe is a timeless character, the aimless youth of yesterday, today, and tomorrow who stands ready to conquer the world but who's not quite sure how to go about it. It's no wonder why the emerging British middle class gobbled it up or why it continues to cater to the dreamers who feel an odd kinship to the bold Crusoe. For me though, this book is not a personal favorite; the action flows like molasses and the critical payoff is, in my estimate, not worth the 275 page investment. I'm also not fond of the prose, most of which comes off in Crusoe's proud, definitive bursts of declarative sentences.
In an edition note, I bought the Bantam Classic which is fine enough for a leisure read. If you're aiming at serious study or otherwise going for the authentic Defoe experience however, be forewarned that this version contains chapter titles not published with the original work. Buy another edition if you don't want spoilers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Unhurriedly Pragmatic Adventure Story, June 28 2003
By 
Yeanold Viskersenn (Bromsgrove, Worcs, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Unhurriedly Pragmatic Adventure Story, June 28 2003
By 
Yeanold Viskersenn (Bromsgrove, Worcs, UK) - See all my reviews
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Superior and inspirational reading for adults and teens, Jan. 21 2003
By 
B.C. Scribe "trekviewer" (Brooklyn Center, MN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Paperback)
After reading Glyn Williams' trenchant 'The Prize Of All The Oceans' I had an overwhelming desire to read this classic once again. I first read it when I was a mere 10 year old and it completely mesmerized me; I find that it still held the same power over me thirty years later. It is difficult to put this tale down once the title character becomes a castaway on the "island of despair" (as Crusoe refers to it) and he begins the battle against the odds to survive. Facing extreme tropical heat, torrential storms, a dreadful loneliness and the struggle to master some of the simplest of skills we take for granted Crusoe wages his one-man crusade for survival. Beginning his desolate existence steeped in woeful self-pity he slowly realizes through a series of trying circumstances, devotional reading of the Bible and finally relief from his isolated state that the experience proves to be one of reverie. In the process Crusoe becomes quite possibly the most inspirational figure to spring forth from the pages of literature.
Though it is annually listed by literature scholars as one of the 100 finest works of fiction, today primarily adolescents read Defoe's enduring tale as part of their required reading for school; very few others rarely bother with this nearly three century old tale. 'Robinson Crusoe' it seems is a classic awaiting a renaissance of rediscovery by adults who regularly read for either leisure or as a part of continuing education. While the novel's approach to morality may seem a bit old fashioned by today's contemporary standards, the character's awakening to wisdom, inner strength and faith will inspire any reader of any age. Crusoe's ability to steel himself against the onslaught of natural elements, his own self doubts and finally a band of savages who discover his "island empire" should win over even the most jaded of us. This Norton Critical Edition is the perfect package to gain a deep appreciation for this masterpiece of the English language. So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book today and transport yourself back to your youth and also to a time long past. It's a journey you won't regret taking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It takes at least 28 years to learn life's lessons, Sept. 16 2002
By 
Jeffrey Sauro (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
One of the best works of fiction I've read. I listened to this work unabridged and the narrator's tone and cadence were excellent. The narrative in the novel was very easy to follow as the majority of the book involves thoughts of Crusoe and very little dialogue. This is where its similarity with the movie "Cast Away" ends. It's an enduring story not for its Swiss Family Robinson detail but for its character development. Defoe does an excellent job of writing the impetuous, self-reproaching, humbling, ambitious and regretful thoughts of Crusoe.
The reflections and insights Crusoe contemplates while on and then later off the island provide an insightful template on how experience turns from foolish trial and error to wisdom. For example:
How frequently in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which when we are fallen into it is the most dreadful to us, is often times the very means or door of our deliverance by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into.
We are rarely cast into any condition of life so low or any misery so great but we may see something or other to be thankful for and may see others in worse circumstances than our own.
A few reviewers have criticized the book for its approbation of Robinson Crusoe's irresponsible behavior: he disobeyed his parents, pursued deplorable occupations (by today's standards), held racist attitudes and was cruel to animals. Yet it is just this behavior which is the strength of Crusoe as a character-he is the quintessential human---irresponsible, fallible, cowardly but not incorrigible.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Checked the box, now moving on..., July 19 2002
By 
Timothy Mohle (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Hardcover)
Though I'm happy to say that I've read this book as a member of the English-literature canon, it has been a dry read. Inspired to approach it by the movie Castaway (Note however that the film is not based on the novel), I'm confronted by a overwhelming need for a modern interpretation of the stranded-isle genre.
Slow in action; ponderous with 18th century circuitious, flowery and repetitive prose; haphazardly concerned with supportive plot details -- it wasn't a long read, but about as enjoyable and juicy as a Mexican pastry.
I'd be surprised if this is still on school reading lists today considering it reflects an appauling stance on slavery and white supremacy (though true to the era). Furthermore, it openly espouses a fundamental, Calvinist theology that most school districts would altogether avoid.
Crusoe's spiritual journey is the sole theme of the book that addresses any sort of intellectual character development. Even though it grows distastful in some respects, expunge this topic from the novel and your left with a comic book. And if reduced to a characture, why wouldn't you opt for something like Stevenson's child-friendly Swiss Family Robinson? Something filled with adventure, intrigue, humor and drama?
To make this novel more enduring it would certainly have benefitted to analyze Crusoe's enduring lonliness and its effects on his psyche. Until the character Friday appears, Defoe barely mentions solitude even being an issue for Crusoe. Is not man a fundamentally social creature? Would there not be painful, enduring mental extirpations to work through?
Sigh...what else is there to say but it's a book to check off the list and move on.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Crusoe is a despicable person, July 3 2002
By 
Brian P. McDonnell (Holbrook, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Hardcover)
I can't believe this book is considered one of the best books of all time. Forget the fact that it is poorly written with Daniel Defoe repeating himself several times throughout the first half of the book (an example would be that he retells the first three years of his life on the island at least three times in different forms), but that the character of Robinson Crusoe is such a despicable person.
How do I even begin. You have a spoiled rich kid who doesn't listen to his father's advise and sets out to see the world. He is taken prisoner and made a slave. When he finally does escape you would think that he would have learned from this experience how wrong it is to enslave others, but he doesn't. He sets up a tobacco plantation in Brazil and sets out on a voyage to Africa to enslave men to work on his plantation, when he is shipwrecked. All others on the boat are drown.
How am I supposed to feel bad for this individual? He says he has no companionship, but he doesn't deserve any. It isn't until he is on the island for several chapters that he even mentions the fact that a dog survived from the shipwreck. He had listed every last essential object he had saved from the ship several times in the earlier chapters, but since a dog means nothing to him, it is an afterthought. He has cats, but drowns the kittens. I understand he needed to eat, but this character has no morals. The island he is on is one of the few that turtles breed on, and he kills them readily. He kills a dolphin, (I'm not sure how exactly he did this, when he was on land). He kills goats while they are with their kids, and then when the kids follow him home he kills them as well. If there had been any baby seals on the island I have not doubts he would have clubbed them all to death.
When he finally meets the savage Friday he is happier to have a servant than to have a companion. I find it humorous that the man giving this savage religious counsel has no Christian morals himself. Crusoe thinks he is a good Christian, but he only looks to God when his life is in peril, and then he quickly forgets his teachings during all other fazes of his everyday world. He thinks God has cursed him. I think it is probably more that He is trying to protect the rest of the world from him.
The character Friday is one of the few things I liked about the book, when he forces Crusoe to question his own beliefs. Crusoe however takes everything about the savage for granted. How can you blame Friday for wanting to be in his own country. When Friday comes upon his Father in need, and is taking care of him, Crusoe is like a little baby that is upset because Friday isn't spending enough time serving him. Crusoe even puts down Friday's religion, when he doesn't even understand his own. Then when he converts Friday over to Christianity and Friday asks Crusoe to come over to his island and to help and teach his people, all Crusoe can think of is himself.
Later Crusoe becomes aware of some Spaniards shipwrecked on the mainland. While he is waiting for them to return, he himself is rescued. Instead of having his rescuers who become indebted to him, go over to the mainland to assist the Spaniards, he just leaves them. From one who knows what is it like to be shipwrecked himself, and that they are in danger over there, this is unacceptable. I can't believe Friday just leaves without inquiring about his father either.
Then in the end Crusoe returns, obtains money and goes back to the island and enslaves many of the savages. I kept hoping when the savages came to his island that they would have tracking skills like the Indians in the "Last of the Mohicans" and that they'd find him out and killed him. Or that Friday would be more like the savage Queequeg in "Moby Dick" who stayed true to his own religious beliefs. Alas they were not.
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Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (Paperback - June 10 1998)
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