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In Search of Robinson Crusoe

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About the Author

Acclaimed adventure writer and explorer Tim Severin has made a career of retracing the journeys of literary or historical figures in replica vessels. These experiences have been turned into a body of captivating and illuminating books, including The Brendan Voyage, In Search of Genghis Kahn, and In Search of Moby Dick. Severin has received numerous awards for exploration and geographic history, including the Founder's Medal of England's Geographic Society. When not traveling, he lives in County Cork, Ireland.


In 1711, sailor Alexander Selkirk returned to his London home after being marooned on an island for nearly five years. Originally having asked to be abandoned on the isle, Selkirk piqued popular interest and his life story was eventually hammered into a novel by Daniel Defoe. Examining the fictional Crusoe alongside the historic realities of colonization and human ingenuity, Severin's (In Search of Moby Dick) modus operandi is as simple as it is enjoyable. Readers learn about the history of marooning among plunderers, blockade navies and other piratical sailors, as well as the ethnography of the so-called "Moskito Man" (aka Man Friday) and all the ways to provide for oneself on a deserted island. But the crown jewel in this adventure is the author's travels to remote places while investigating the Where Is It Now? angle. Severin trips to Caledonia, Honduras and several Caribbean islands, looking for the most likely dwelling place of the world-famous shipwrecked sailor. Although he has made a name for himself with such stylized examinations, Severin sometimes, in offhand remarks, sounds disgruntled at being shuttled to the far corners of the world. Nevertheless, the work is energetic and Severin is an ideal guide to the world behind the word. This will surely appeal to the lovers of maritime history. Illus. and maps. (July) Forecast: This is the fourth title within the last year and a half that attempts to trace Selkirk's travels, including Selkirk's Island, by Diana Souhami (Forecasts, Dec. 10, 2001), and Searching for Crusoe, by Thurston Clarke (Forecasts, Jan. 1, 2001). While the subject seems to be a trend, expect competition to result in modest sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"It's hard to say which is more interesting--the history Severin so capably writes or his own adventures in the odd, forlorn places his research takes him to. He knows how to blend his ingredients to generate the kind of heat a reader wants from a book." "Blending travel narrative, maritime history, and a literary mystery, [Severin] pores over the exploits of eighteenth-century pirates, deftly pieces together clues...and has a few adventures of his own. A fascinating read."

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