French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626-1786

French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626-1786

Britain's Last Invasion - The Battle of Fishguard 1797

Britain's Last Invasion - The Battle of Fishguard 1797

Crusoe, Castaways and Shipwrecks in the Perilous Age of Sail

Mike Rendell

To mark the 300th anniversary of the publication of Robinson Crusoe, this book looks at some of the stories which inspired Daniel Defoe - stories of bravery, courage, determination and good fortune. It looks at Defoe's life and the monumental success of his novel - sometimes described as being the first in the English language. It also considers some of the reasons why people found themselves cast away - as a result of being wrecked, by being abandoned as a punishment, marooned by pirates - or even out of deliberate choice.

The book looks at the astonishing tales of survival in the face of adversity - down in the Falklands, in the Caribbean and off the coast of Australia. It examines perhaps the most astonishing story of them all - sixty slaves abandoned on a desolate treeless island in the Indian Ocean and left there for fifteen years.

Amazingly, some survived against all odds. It looks at how being cast away brings out the best in some - and in others the very worst, with stories of murder, rape and betrayal.
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To mark the 300th anniversary of the publication of Robinson Crusoe, this book looks at some of the stories which inspired Daniel Defoe - stories of bravery, courage, determination and good fortune. It looks at Defoe's life and the monumental success of his novel - sometimes described as being the first in the English language. It also considers some of the reasons why people found themselves cast away - as a result of being wrecked, by being abandoned as a punishment, marooned by pirates - or even out of deliberate choice. Major hurricanes in the 18th Century causing huge damage to shipping and loss of life are also looked at, along with catastrophes when ships were lost, not as a result of battles, but because of human negligence, sheer stupidity and bad luck. The book looks at the astonishing tales of survival in the face of adversity - down in the Falklands, in the Caribbean and off the coast of Australia. It examines perhaps the most astonishing story of them all - sixty slaves abandoned on a desolate treeless island in the Indian Ocean and left there for fifteen years. Amazingly, some survived against all odds. It looks at how being cast away brings out the best in some - and in others the very worst, with stories of murder, rape and betrayal.

ISBN: 9781526747471
Format: Hardback
Author(s): Mike Rendell
First Publishment Date: 09 April 2019
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Author(s) Mike Rendell
Customer Reviews
  1. found his book to be something a little bit different and a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable read I’m now very happy to recommend.
    This book is an interesting, indeed almost refreshing, departure from the ships/battles/naval personalities genre normally reviewed here. Published to mark the 300th anniversary of the publication of Daniel Defoe’s classic Robinson Crusoe, it begins by telling Defoe’s own story, a remarkable one in itself that captures the attention straight away and sets the scene for the stories of shipwreck, marooning and survival that follow. How many of us know, for example, that his surname was actually “Foe”, altered to “de Foe” and finally to “Defoe” for upward social mobility reasons? Or that he was lucky to have escaped the gallows after Monmouth’s Rebellion, had more than one spell in debtors’ prison and, parallel with his literary activities, was a highly regarded government agent, regularly infiltrating dissident groups opposed to the government of the day? The tales that then follow are, in turn, truly remarkable ones of survival, courage and initiative in the face of adversity, reminding us in our comfortable armchairs that the Age of Sail really was a perilous one. In Part 2, “Inspirations for Robinson Crusoe”, we learn of the real-life characters upon whom Defoe based his Crusoe, the best-known being the Scotsman Alexander Selkirk (a bit of a thug and a bully, as it turns out!). Part 3, “Shipwrecked!”, covers disasters caused by storms and/or human error, such as the Great Storm of 1703, the Scillies Storm of 1707 that wrecked Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s fleet, the hurricanes of 1780 and 1782, along with several other accounts of ships lost through human error, fire and water. Part 4, “Other Castaways”, finishes the book with 6 astonishing (I don’t use the word lightly) tales of individuals and groups who survived and triumphed in the face of almost unbelievable adversity in places as far apart as the west coast of Australia, the Falklands, Ascension Island, the Caribbean and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. While Captain Bligh’s 3,500 voyage across the Pacific in an open boat with 18 loyal members of his crew after the mutiny on the Bounty might already be well-known, the detail that Mike Rendell adds means that readers already familiar with the story won’t find themselves just going over old ground, testament to the diligence of his research and to his writing style. I found his book to be something a little bit different and a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable read I’m now very happy to recommend.

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