I have a fascination with books on the Age of Discovery and sea travel before the 19th century. So it didn't surprise me that I would enjoy reading this book on William Dampier, a truly remarkable character. Dampier was, on the one hand a pirate, or a buccaneer to be more exact. Yet, he had an ability to observe, record, and understand the world around him like few have ever done. It is a wonder his name has been largely lost to history. I suppose this is because his observations were not officially sponsored, but rather made on his journeys as a pirate. How unfortunate he did not put his great mind to work in a more conventional setting. Perhaps he would be remembered with the likes of Cook and Darwin and we would be studying his thoughts and observations today. Instead, his greatest ambition was to seize a Spanish treasure ship (which never even gave him the riches he sought after) and the world lost a great explorer. Well worth a read as an introduction to a largely forgotten, but potentially important man.
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