Pen and Sword
Crusoes, Castaways and ShipwrecksCode:
Fascinating” stories of real-life people and events that inspired the author of the classic adventure novel Robinson Crusoe (Historical Novel Society). This book looks at some of the stories that inspired Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe—stories of bravery, determination, and good fortune, as well as human negligence, sheer stupidity, and bad luck. In addition to an overview of Defoe’s life and his monumentally successful novel, it also considers some of the reasons why people found themselves cast away—as a result of being wrecked, abandoned as a punishment, or marooned by pirates, or even out of deliberate choice. Major hurricanes in the eighteenth century causing huge damage to shipping and loss of life are also covered, along with catastrophes when ships were lost, and astonishing tales of survival in the face of adversity—down in the Falklands, in the Caribbean, and off the coast of Australia. It looks at how being cast away brings out the best in some—and in others the very worst. And 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, some of whom survived against all odds.