Selkirk's Island by Diana Souhami
The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe

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Synopsis

Piracy and betrayal frame the epic story of solitary endurance that inspired Daniel Defoe's classic novel.

Who was the real Robinson Crusoe? And what did he really experience during his solitary stay on a remote island in the Pacific? Diana Souhami's revelatory account of Alexander Selkirk's adventures on the high seas and dry land leads us to the answers to both these questions, and explores the reality behind the romance of privateering on the high seas.

Born to a poor Scottish family, Selkirk signed on with an ill-fated quest to sack the famous Manila galleon, one of the richest prizes on the southern seas. After a series of misfortunes and disagreements among the crew, Selkirk was put ashore on an island three hundred miles west of South America, where he spent four years learning to survive with little more than his bare hands.
Acclaimed biographer Diana Souhami evokes all the strangeness and wonder of his story and interprets the haze created by three centuries of literature and legend. The result is a brilliantly lucid and lyrical recovery and discovery of a forgotten man and his unforgettable experience.

 

About Diana Souhami

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Diana Souhami is the author of many highly acclaimed books including The Trials of Radclyffe Hall (short-listed for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and winner of the Lambda Literary Award), Gertrude and Alice, Greta and Cecil, the bestselling Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter, and Gluck: Her Biography. She lives in London.
 
Published February 7, 2002 by Harcourt. 248 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Selkirk's Island

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Literary history compressed into capsule-size that goes down like a charm.

Mar 19 2015 | Read Full Review of Selkirk's Island: The True an...

Kirkus Reviews

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Dampier himself wrote several about previous trips, and two men from the expedition that saved Selkirk wooed the public appetite with books about his tribulations and theirs.

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Acclaimed literary biographer Souhami (Gertrude and Alice, 1997, etc.) profiles the island and the individual whose story inspired Daniel Defoe's novel.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Selkirk's Island: The True an...

Publishers Weekly

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Daniel Defoe based his 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe on the trials and tribulations of Scottish seaman Alexander Selkirk. Souhami (The Trial

Dec 10 2001 | Read Full Review of Selkirk's Island: The True an...

The Guardian

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Selkirk's Island Diana Souhami 256pp, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, £14.99 This book is a retelling of Robinson Crusoe in which the real hero is the island;

May 05 2001 | Read Full Review of Selkirk's Island: The True an...

Kirkus Reviews

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Literary history compressed into capsule-size that goes down like a charm.

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Large Print Reviews

In Selkirk's Island, Diana Souhami examines the myths and the facts that surround the life and exploits of Selkirk, who was stranded on a deserted island for over four years, from 1704 to 1709.

Feb 24 2003 | Read Full Review of Selkirk's Island: The True an...

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