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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 22 March 2017
Perfect book.
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on 17 April 2017
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on 13 March 2007
The tale of Robinson Crusoe is so engrained in our culture I found it difficult to be objective about it. All the classic ingredients are there, the journey to find one's fortune the shipwreck, the fight for survival and the conversations with God. It is easy to see why it has survived in print for so long although I found so much of the book rather dull. This particular edition has an introduction which I found to be very useful in putting the novel into context and a series of explanatory notes which I found essential for understanding the language of the time. Should you be going to buy a copy of this I think these additions make this an excellent choice.
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As a literary pioneer Daniel Defoe was one of those people who actually helped to create a form of writing, the novel to grow and become more popular in this country, and so with him and those early others we do owe him a debt of gratitude. Of course this was not the only thing that Defoe helped to create and contribute to but the fact that he was so very influential in the novel form means that he also helped to start the process of what we expect a modern novel to look like and read like.

I personally always enjoy reading this particular novel, although I would never get on a boat if the name Robinson Crusoe was to appear on the passenger or crew lists. If you wonder why because you have not read this before, then I think in the first few chapters you will get some idea, because although the most famous part of the story is his adventures as a castaway, he also before then gets taken as a slave and has ships that he sails on floundering into trouble.

On first publication this was certainly well received, and it is quite realistic. Written in the first person we read of how Crusoe grew up and wanted a bit of adventure, and even later in the story when we can see that he can clearly settle and take up life running his plantation he does not do so, still craving other experiences.

Although nowadays most people think there is only one influence on this book being written, that of the tale of Alexander Selkirk, if you actually look at the period you will find that there were many tales of very real castaways, along with other sources that were just as likely to be major influences on this tale. Although we read of the trials and tribulations of living what is at the start a very isolated existence there is also a strong undercurrent that runs through this that takes in both religious and philosophical elements. After all as Crusoe points out himself, he has money with him on the island, but of what use is it, as there is no one to buy things from? Such things are raised, which gives this a much greater depth than probably most people realise.

Some have seen in this story the attitude of the Colonists that left these shores to live in for instance America, but on a larger scale than that you can also see how us living in the Western World changed from hunting, to add agriculture and then settling and having to organise more complex matters, after all Crusoe has to divide his time in the right way, with the correct amount of time exerted on different issues, such as growing food as well as hunting for it, and building and maintaining shelter and other such items.

In all this is a well written book that has definitely stood the test of time, and at the basic level we have not altered from when this was first written, thus this still calls to us all, giving us a powerful and thoughtful read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 December 2012
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 17 November 2005
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is often hailed as the first novel written in English; it has garnered appraisal in each century it has been around; and is one of the most widely translated works of fiction behind the Bible. For a novel to be truly regarded as a ‘classic’, which Robinson Crusoe is, it must be at once timeless and yet a product of its times. Classic is defined as being: “approved as a model, standard, leading, Of literary note, historically famous. With a thorough understanding of the text and a grounding in the social, economical, philosophical and ethical issues of the Enlightenment, Robinson Crusoe can easily be seen to fit such a definition.
Defoe’s style is often disorienting and seemingly random, as often, the narrative jumps several years in as many sentences. He allows the retrospective voice of Crusoe to be both spatially and temporally free; lending his narrative voice weight, with its mastery of the material. The implied author, Crusoe, is writing this account of his adventures from after the event; it is for this reason that the novel’s tone seems divided. For the most part Crusoe is meticulously descriptive; taking pages to describe how a boat is made, or how he fails to make ink. Conversely there are theological and philosophical tracts that seem out of place in such a richly detailed account. Robinson Crusoe is presented as a factual account of Crusoe’s life; as the title page boldly pronounces.
Robinson Crusoe is more than anything a product of the time it was written in. It contains within it, just under the surface, many of the ideas that were present during the Enlightenment; and it serves as a neat allegory for the colonial spirit of 18th Century England. Ultimately it champions the idea that through a man’s own actions he can truly come to know himself and the world he lives in; and that he must not be bound by the tutelage of past generations.
Read it.
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on 3 August 2005
Inspired by the real life story of Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, Daniel Defoe wrote the famous classic Robinson Crusoe.
This is about a man who sets off to find his fortune, travelling on a boat with his mate. But after a series of events that take place, he is driven all over the world, only to be shipwrecked on an isolated Pacific Ocean island. With the provisions left on the ship not far from the island, he manages to create a safe abode and provide himself food. This is a story of how Robinson Crusoe Survives and the events that lead him to freedom.
This is such a cool story and there are condensed versions around so that any one can enjoy it. So suspensful and intriguing, you must, must, must read it!
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on 9 February 2017
A classic book I'd always meant to read but never got round to doing it. It had me gripped from the first page
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on 25 August 2005
This book is exciting, well described and good organized. The story gives ideas of heading for your goal, that is, don't be afraid of doing what you desire. It gives idea of fighting whatever happen in your life and don't give up easily as the world won't always be on your side. Futhermore, you will get the idea the importance of the word "friend" and you will see that money isn't everything and their value does not last long.
What I don't like in this book is that some situations are discribed in easy ways and make me think why it's so easy. I think it doesn't discribe about Robinson's feeling enough, which I think it is as important as the way of life. I also think that there should be more obstacles, living in an island. Also, it should show how he deal with them and how he feels.
I think it is a good book to read and its point of views are suitable for all ages. You will get a lot of benefits from this adventurous story, apart from its excitement.
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on 28 January 2016
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