tim severin

Review of ‘In Search of Robinson Crusoe’

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Since the time the sun never set on the British Empire, and despite having a rather gray and lackluster cuisine, Brits have excelled as travel writers. Tim Severin’s In Search of Robinson Crusoe is but another example of that excellence. An intrepid explorer and excellent scribe, Severin traveled the lands described in Daniel Defoe’s books to see if he could discover the identity of the real life castaway upon whom Defoe based his book, or if it was based upon the voluntary castaway, Alexander Selkirk, as many believe.

Moving back and forth in time, with summaries of the past interspersed with descriptions of his own often hazardous, sometimes hilarious, journeys, Severn effectively debunks the myths, and comes to the conclusion that Defoe based his character upon an entirely different castaway. I won’t spoil the book for you by identifying that worthy. I’ll just suggest you get the book and find out for yourself.

Severn writes in a vivid style, complete with self-deprecating wit that will make this  perhaps one of the best travelogues, historical narratives, adventure books you’ll read in a while. I give it five stars!