A Pirate of Exquisite Mind : The Life of William Dampier - Explorer, Naturalist and Buccaneer

by Diana Preston , Michael Preston | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0552772100 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingDelphi_Readerwing of Δελφοί - Delphi, Fokida Greece on 11/16/2019
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingDelphi_Readerwing from Δελφοί - Delphi, Fokida Greece on Saturday, November 16, 2019
This book starts its journey with BookCrossing from Delphi, Greece

" William Dampier, (1651-1715), was an English adventurer and pirate who preyed on ships on the Spanish Main. Poor and ill-educated and determined to make his fortune, he nonetheless had a passion for exploration and scientific research.
Dampier was the first to map the winds and currents of the world's oceans; led the first recorded party of Englishmen to set foot on Australia - 80 years before Cook; wrote about Galapagos wildlife 150 years before Darwin, who drew on Dampier's notes in his own work; was the first travel writer: A NEW VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD was instant bestseller when it was published in 1697 - said to have influenced the novels of Swift and Defoe.

A man full of contradictions: he who achieved so much 'blew it' later in life, declining into scandal, failure and even farce. A unique man ahead of his time, he lived a large part of his life among pirates yet managed to preserve what Coleridge called his ‘exquisite refinement of mind’. A classic example of the best narrative history. "

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Journal Entry 2 by wingDelphi_Readerwing at Δελφοί - Delphi, Fokida Greece on Monday, May 18, 2020
Wow! What a book, what a person and what an era to live in!
This was a very interesting read. I enjoyed reading about the personality and adventurous life of William Dampier and -as often happens with biographies- learning tons of other trivia and information about lots of other stuff too.

Often biographies tend to paint their subject matter on too bright colours and I think this book wasn't an exception, but of course it's up to the reader to filter and judge and to form his own opinions.

The book relies heavily on published works of Dampier his self, while many aspects and periods of his life aren't that well-documented, so I guess it can be too biased sometimes. Accordingly, the later part of the book isn't that much detailed as the opening chapters. But for sure, he was a very interesting and controversial personality, leading an interesting life on very interesting times. Not only the main subject of this book was very engaging anyway, but through various connotations, foot notes, incidents and persons crossing Dampier's path, the knowledge one can get on many other subjects is invaluable.

I don't want to make more specific comments on the book, it's here for people to navigate, explore and discover, as Dampier did with nearly the whole wide wild world : )

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