Daniel Defoe by Richard West
The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures

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The many baffling, colorful facets of Daniel Defoe's person and career come into striking focus in this new biography by Richard West. Here is Defoe the tradesman, soldier, and spy, the journalist, novelist, satirist, newsman, and pamphleteer. Consistent only in his failure as a businessman, Defoe would never manage to provide adequately for his wife and their six children, neither in commerce nor by his undeniably prolific pen - a pen that in the year following Defoe's imprisonment, by West's estimate, wrote a half million words. That same year Defoe also founded a newspaper, The Review, for which he created such features as the lead story, the obituary, foreign news analysis, the gossip column, and the advice column. With a finesse and independence of spirit not unlike his subject's own, West unfolds his story of a maverick Defoe, a Puritan but no prude, a Dissenter without a constituency, a hack who never failed to pursue the truth and by the way also produced "Moll Flanders," " "Roxana," "A Journal of the Plague Year," and "Robinson Crusoe."

About Richard West

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West has written over a dozen well-received history and travel books and biographies.
Published September 1, 1998 by Carroll & Graf Pub. 427 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

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West freely acknowledges that he relies on a few outdated monumental histories of the period (Macaulay, Trevelyan, Churchill) and on Paula Backsheider’s recent academic biography of Defoe.

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Publishers Weekly

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It's not surprising that West, an Englishman and the veteran author of numerous books on history and travel, is an admirer of ""the fertility of Defoe's brain as well as the physical strength of his writing hand."" West's life of the prolific if unconventional journalist who invented so much of h...

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