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I first read this many decades ago after watching the excellent BBC serial on children's television that I think was a French production. Coming back to it all these years later I'm struck, once again, by how, although appearing slightly `overblown' for some modern tastes, engaging the writing is and how the story of this young man's gruelling coming of age still resonates down the centuries. Thus, one understands why the book quickly attained classic status and has remained a favourite for more than 300 years.

According to Colin Wilson (in A Criminal History of Mankind) Defoe based the story on the adventures of a Scottish pirate named Alexander Selkirk who, following a quarrel with his pirate captain, asked to be marooned on what was then, one of the uninhabited islands of the Juan Fernandez group about 600 km off the coast of Chile in the South Pacific. After five years Selkirk return to England and became an overnight `celebrity' and Defoe (who began life, in 1660, as Daniel Foe) went to see him in Bristol in 1713 and probably paid for his written reminiscences. The interesting point to note is that Defoe was an agent provocateur and spy, a kind of forerunner to those more recently employed by MI5, and built up a network of spies as well as spending time `inside' and in the pillory!

Why it's interesting, at least to this reader, is that this seems to indicate a certain type of person; i.e. not particularly pious, unlike his fictional creation Robinson Crusoe, who, during his log solitary sojourn on his fictional island, develops, possibly, quite understandably under the circumstances, a distinct religious sensibility and frequently and at length thanks God for providing for him so bounteously. Crusoe reflects on this many times during the book and this is just one example of a degree of repetition that a good editor would surely have remedied.

Nevertheless, as I said above, this book is a classic for a good reason and provides hours of enjoyment for the patient reader in addition a great deal of food for thought!
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on 6 September 2010
Why? Well, simply, you get both Robinson Crusoe and the Futher Adventures of Robinson Crusoe bound together. Bargain!

Now, Robinson Crusoe is well known. it is regarded as one of the first modern English language novels. Perhaps more surprisingly it still reads very well. Yes, Defoe writes longer sentences than we are used to in novels. Yes, it does sometimes seem a bit clumsy being written in the first person. But, his accounts of Crusoe's adventures are remarkable page turners. How will his meetings with the cannibals turn out? What will happen when he and Friday attack another cannibal party?

We are also familiar with Robinson Crusoe as a childrens' story. No doubt they will enjoy it but it usually comes to them Disneyfied. The original novel is certainly aimed as adults who can appreciate the bigger points being made behind the action-adventure. What are those points? Defoe sets up Crusoe's central character flaw at the beginning. Forgetting his Father's biblical injunctions to seek a middle station in life (give me neither poverty nor riches) Crusoe is always restless and wants to see more of the world. And so, nearly every travel will plunge him into disaster. The resolution of these problems comes when he finds and reads a Bible, humbles himself before God and accepts Christ as his Saviour. It is noteworthy that this evangelical fevour spills over to Man Friday who converts to Protestant Christianity under Crusoe's tutelage.

What of the second volume? We find out what happened to Crusoe's island in his absence, which he sends provisions to so that it almost becomes an Eden. Yet Crusoe ends an absentee and somewhat neglectful monarch of his realm. Defoe's ecumenical spirit is seen with a Roman Catholic priest being available to stir Crusoe's conscience to provide marriage for his islanders and to instruct them, English and native, in the ways of God. Before getting too carried away with his ecumenism it should be noted that the priest is praiseworthy precisely because his beliefs approximate to Protestantism! Further, the only conversion recorded is very much in a Puritan, rather than a Roman Catholic, fashion.

So buy this version, and pray that you too may be satisfied with a middling life!
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on 8 September 2008
I was really pleasently surprised with this book. I didn't know much more about it than man lands on island and has to survive... The book is broken up into four sections (though unfortunately not through the use of chapters, which would have been nice): Pre-island, Island pre-Friday, Island post-Friday and then after Island. The first three sections are amazing, especially the second part. I thought his attitude of 'I need something, I'm going to learn how to do it and then perfect it' was really inspirational and was a fascinating read.

The mood changes when he discovers a foot print on the otherside of the Island and his paranoia builds and builds - there's a real sense that the relatively free-living he had enjoyed before is over. The third section in which he saves Friday and then defeats the Savages is pretty exciting stuff and despite his initial attitude towards Friday it is enjoyable that the savage (as Crusoe continually calls him) is so much more open minded and willing to learn new things rather than fear them.

Once Crusoe does eventually get off the Island the book loses much of what made it exciting and so the end feels a bit dull by comparison, though it's nice to see he visits the Island again. I'm not sure whether I missed something but I felt a bit let down not to get an update on the whereabouts or some obvious mention of what happened to Friday after they made it back to England.

I enjoyed it mostly for the adventure and inventiveness of the character but it got a bit frustrating at times as was fairly repetative in places and there were certain sections which felt a bit like being hit in the face with a massive bible. Crusoe's character isn't really the most likeable of fellows (especially by today's standards) but I quite like that in the books I read.

Oh and look at the price! Best thing I can remember buying for under £2.
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on 14 October 2006
Just a quickie. Some of the above reviews remind us of how slow and boring this book can be and how repetitive. Well, guys, that's the point. How exciting do you suppose being stranded alone on an Island can be? What would you do to pass the time? Defoe takes us back to a time before T.V etc. Your day would be boring, although eventually menial tasks save ones sanity. Time does pass slowly as it looses relavance. It's not a classic for nothing.
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on 3 February 2015
Great read- you learn to consider Crusoe like a kind uncle. Historically interesting too, the way in which anything other than 'Christian' was automatically seen as barbarous and uncivilised, you can see how so many justified their murder, conquest and robbing during the centuries! Makes you appreciate having planes and modern transport too- 10 year expeditions can now be done in a week
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2011
This book was probably the first true novel, in the modern sense, published in the English language (1719). Much of the book details Crusoe's attempts to survive on his island, with quite detailed accountants of his efforts to grow crops, domesticate goats and make cooking utensils and other tools. Although this may sound quite dull, the writing style for the most part pulled me through. The narrative is quite positive and Crusoe comes to adopt a positive mental attitude by counting his blessings in terms of the articles he salvages from the shipwreck, the fact that the hulk is still accessible, and that there are no wild animals on his island. This is of course the original cannibal savages v. civilised white Anglo Saxon story, now a racist cliche, but then a worldview that all the book's readers would surely have shared nearly three centuries ago. Finally, I think the narrative should have ended when he came back to England, but instead there is a longish section on his property and financial arrangements and his fighting wolves in France, that seemed to lack a clear purpose.
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on 3 January 2014
An all time classic in a quality modern binding. A tactile cover with interesting art work, perfect for a collector and bibliophile.
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on 28 July 1999
Robinson Crusoe is one of the first English novels. Written by Daniel DeFoe in the early 18th century during the rise of economic theory, this book chronicles the struggle of an economic hero shipwrecked on an island. He takes advantage of people, always looking to make money or increase economic value. Although Crusoe has religious experiences and gets preachy at times (DeFoe was of Puritan stock at a time when Puritanism was a significant force), Crusoe is a practical man. He does not let morals get in the way of carving out a prosperous life -- there are scenes where the main character is no role model. The novel is episodic, with Crusoe hopping from one scene to another. The narration isn't smooth. However, the "flaws" when compared to later writings may be forgiven because Robinson Crusoe is an early novel. Writers had not worked out the fine points of the genre. DeFoe is an important early English novelist who cobbled together economic theory, religious opinion, travel writing, and borrowed material from a contemporary shipwreck victim to create a work of fiction. Robinson Crusoe is often mislabelled as a childrens book. Perhaps in a watered down abridgement, it is a good children's book. The original, complete, unabridged work is a literary classic that should be read by any student of English literature.
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on 20 April 2017
I Gave Up at 25%

Robinson Crusoe reads like a scrappy diary of a racist farmer. For an interesting premise, nothing happens. And this would be okay with me if the writing was engaging - but it wasn't.

Story and character-wise it's so weak. Every single thing that happens to Crusoe he is prepared for. When he first crashed on the island he spent a few lines contemplating suicide due to him being alone, but that's quickly brushed aside for his step by step gathering of items for survival. Crusoe doesn't seem to feel alarmed by the prospect of eternal solitude, nor is there any indication of the toll his situation ought to place on him. It's just not human.

Rescue doesn't even seem to cross his mind. And while that's a reasonable approach in terms of survival, it's not a logical writing decision given that we have been provided with no prior indication that Robinson is capable of being self sufficient. Sure, he owned some land and traveled around, but he himself said he didn't do work on the ships he was on. Someone please tell me how a man with severe wanderlust and no work ethic spends no time exploring his island and is so chill and knows exactly how to hunt and survive - because I just don't see the continuity. Psychologically, humans are compelled to survive, but that doesn't make it a walk in the park.

I respect this as (arguably) the first novel and what this means historically, but even alongside context, it's hard for a modern reader to find the adventures of Robinson Crusoe particularly adventurous or entertaining.
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Good edition for a good price. Robinson Crusoe is a book I read when I was younger and a non-Christian, but now that I'm a Christian, I found his contemplations about the meaning of deliverance to be really profound. One of those classics that can be read on many levels, and now I'm thinking, more appreciated as one gets older.
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