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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An adventure, but different than you might expect
The author of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, is generally credited with being one of the first novel writers in the English language. The book is surely an influential one-- spawning countless imitations, derivations, and (in our era) reality-based television shows.

It is billed, quite fairly, as an adventure story. However, it is a very different kind of...
Published on January 30, 2005 by frumiousb

versus
158 of 166 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: This is NOT the original text
Defoe helped to define the modern fictional novel when he wrote about the tales of Robinson Crusoe. The book has a strong religious theme, as was Defoe's intention. However, this version of the text censors out some of the language against what Defoe called the Papist Church (or the Roman Catholic Church) as well as some items which would be considered racially...
Published on January 26, 2011 by Joshua Q


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158 of 166 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: This is NOT the original text, January 26, 2011
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Defoe helped to define the modern fictional novel when he wrote about the tales of Robinson Crusoe. The book has a strong religious theme, as was Defoe's intention. However, this version of the text censors out some of the language against what Defoe called the Papist Church (or the Roman Catholic Church) as well as some items which would be considered racially insensitive today (but leaving in much of it as well). I don't understand why this version leaves out some of those parts, as they completely change the story that Defoe intended. I'm not sure that Amazon knows these texts are censored (not the original) as there is no allusion to it in the book's description.

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808)
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An adventure, but different than you might expect, January 30, 2005
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frumiousb "frumiousb" (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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The author of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, is generally credited with being one of the first novel writers in the English language. The book is surely an influential one-- spawning countless imitations, derivations, and (in our era) reality-based television shows.

It is billed, quite fairly, as an adventure story. However, it is a very different kind of adventure than the modern action-sequence laden book which readers today may expect. It is an adventure story, but one which centers primarily on mastery and morality.

The morality is placed centrally in the book when Crusoe rejects the advice of his father to accept the happiness of the middle class life to which he was born. Against the wishes of his family, he runs off to sea to find adventure. It is not until Crusoe literally recreates a primitive approximation of that middle class life for himself on his island that he is freed.

Crusoe is also a story about the ability of mankind to master his surroundings through hard work, patience, and Christianity. The combination of these three supports are what allow him to escape captivity in Africa, overcome the deadly obstacles on the island, and finally leave the island itself. His physical prowess and combat skills are significantly less important to his journey than the message of trust and persistance that the decades he spends on the island convey. While this message might need tempering for the modern reader, it is also inspirational and important to read.

If the potential reader is not used to the diction of the time, the book itself may take some patience and persistance. It pays off, in the end, and should be an excellent book for the young teenager (or the not-so-young grown-up) interested in stories of adventure. The child who reads and enjoys My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George would probably be a good potential audience for Robinson Crusoe. For a good life-at-sea duo, you might consider pairing it with Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior and inspirational reading for adults and teens, January 21, 2003
By 
B.C. Scribe "trekviewer" (Brooklyn Center, MN USA) - See all my reviews
After reading Glyn Williams' trenchant 'The Prize Of All The Oceans' I had an overwhelming desire to read this classic once again. I first read it when I was a mere 10 year old and it completely mesmerized me; I find that it still held the same power over me thirty years later. It is difficult to put this tale down once the title character becomes a castaway on the "island of despair" (as Crusoe refers to it) and he begins the battle against the odds to survive. Facing extreme tropical heat, torrential storms, a dreadful loneliness and the struggle to master some of the simplest of skills we take for granted Crusoe wages his one-man crusade for survival. Beginning his desolate existence steeped in woeful self-pity he slowly realizes through a series of trying circumstances, devotional reading of the Bible and finally relief from his isolated state that the experience proves to be one of reverie. In the process Crusoe becomes quite possibly the most inspirational figure to spring forth from the pages of literature.
Though it is annually listed by literature scholars as one of the 100 finest works of fiction, today primarily adolescents read Defoe's enduring tale as part of their required reading for school; very few others rarely bother with this nearly three century old tale. 'Robinson Crusoe' it seems is a classic awaiting a renaissance of rediscovery by adults who regularly read for either leisure or as a part of continuing education. While the novel's approach to morality may seem a bit old fashioned by today's contemporary standards, the character's awakening to wisdom, inner strength and faith will inspire any reader of any age. Crusoe's ability to steel himself against the onslaught of natural elements, his own self doubts and finally a band of savages who discover his "island empire" should win over even the most jaded of us. This Norton Critical Edition is the perfect package to gain a deep appreciation for this masterpiece of the English language. So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book today and transport yourself back to your youth and also to a time long past. It's a journey you won't regret taking.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survival by Thinking and Doing, May 18, 2000
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Robinson Crusoe is best taken at two levels, the literal adventure story of survival on an isolated island and as a metaphor for finding one's way through life. I recommend that everyone read the book who is willing to look at both of those levels. If you only want the adventure story, you may not be totally satisfied. The language, circumstances, and attitudes may put you off so that you would prefer to be reading a Western or Space-based adventure story with a more modern perspective.
Few books require anyone to rethink the availability and nature of the fundamentals of life: Water, food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment. Then having become solitary in our own minds as a reader, Defoe adds the extraordinary complication of providing a companion who is totally different from Crusoe. This provides the important opportunity to see Crusoe's civilized limitations compared to Friday's more natural ones. The comparisons will make for thought-provoking reading for those who are able to overcome the stalled thinking that the educated, civilized route is always the best.
One of the things that I specially liked about the book is the Crusoe is an ordinary person in many ways, making lots of mistakes, and having lots of setbacks. Put a modern Superhero (from either the comic books, adventure or spy novels, or the movies) into this situation, and it would all be solved in a few minutes with devices from the heel of one's shoe. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I liked the trial-and-error explorations. They seemed just like everyday life, and made the book's many lessons come home to me in a more fundamental way.
Have a good solitary trip through this book!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Critical Essays, May 4, 2000
By A Customer
With Norton Critical Editions readers get the text of the novel and historical and contemporary essays in criticism. The ones in this version are some of the best Norton has ever compiled.
Both the historical and contemporary essays provide a compelling aesthetic case for why this novel is not merely a book for boys but one of the best English novels ever written. Thus, these essays not only highlight aspects of your reading you may or may not have noted but present a case for Defoe's skill as a writer.
A very short essay not to missed is the one by Defoe himself on solitude. It gives one pause.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original castaway, February 20, 2002
By 
As a boy growing up in 17th Century England, all Robinson Crusoe wanted to do was be a sailor. His parents tried to dissuade him -- it was a dangerous occupation, and certainly a middle class child like him could find a calling much safer and more comfortable. Naturally, he didn't listen, and essentially ran away from home, finding opportunities to sail on a few ships and encountering a few dangers until he finally reached Brazil, bought a plantation, and looked forward to that comfortable life of prosperity his parents said would be his if he'd only use his head.
But Crusoe is one to push fate. He embarks on a ship bound for Africa to collect slaves, and during a storm in the Caribbean Sea, the ship is wrecked and the crew drowned except for Crusoe, who manages to swim to the shore of a deserted island. Unable to get back to civilization, he salvages as many goods as he can from the wrecked ship and resolves to survive as long as possible in this new, unwelcome habitat.
Crusoe's resourcefulness is astounding. He builds a sophisticated hut/tent/cave complex to live in, hunts goats and fowl, harvests fruit, and figures out how to grow barley, rice, and corn, bake bread, and make earthenware vessels. After living this way for nearly two peaceful decades, Crusoe discovers that savages from a distant island are using his island for their cannibal feasts. He manages to save the life of one of their potential victims, a savage he names Friday, who becomes his faithful servant. With Friday's help, Crusoe realizes he now has a chance to escape the island once and for all and get back to civilization, although his plans don't proceed quite as he envisioned them.
"Robinson Crusoe" is a neatly woven adventure yarn, but under the surface there are several themes. The most apparent is that the novel seems like a morality tale -- i.e., hard work and faith in God will see you through bad times; virtue is rewarded and arrogance is punished. Another theme is that although nature can be a cruel foe, man is better off learning to work in harmony with it than struggling against it. Most interesting to me, though, is that reading about Crusoe's self-education in the art of survival is like witnessing the anthropological process of how civilization developed from savagery.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An underrrated masterpiece, September 24, 2000
By 
Guillermo Maynez (Mexico, Distrito Federal Mexico) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Unfortunately, this book suffered the fate of many other masterpieces: be classified in the "children" bookshelf. That guarantees most editions will be abridged, censored, and forgotten, since kids today read very little and waste their time playing with horrendous japanese toys. Enough lecturing. This is a book about a man who, yes, goes through many adventures, and in the way finds himself. This is not the story of a man who goes through pleasant experiences, enjoying adventure. He suffers very much finding himself alone for many years, having to survive by himself in the midst of a desert island. The book is narrated in the first person, so it's a long monologue by a truly lonely man. His reflections are deep and moving. It's good that this is a complete and unabridged edition, since the first part is usually severed from the rest, which is a pity because it puts the whole story in context. This is a fun but also an interesting reading.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The old, wordy classic, July 19, 2004
By 
This seventeenth century classic chronicles the story of Robinson Crusoe, an Englishman who leaves his family for a sea career. Shipwrecked and abandoned on a tropical island, Crusoe must find a way to survive. During his castaway adventures, Crusoe wrestles with God's fate and is challenged to answer the haunting question: is there somebody else on the island, or is he just going crazy?

Despite the exciting premise, Robinson Crusoe is not really an 'exciting' novel. Indeed, each chapter title gives away the chapters' events. Moreover, Crusoe, who narrates his journey, is more concerned with describing the shape of the tiger's teeth, the nature of his growl, and various other details instead of building up any excitement about the encounter. Crusoe takes great pains describing how he counted all his objects and divided them up into equal segments.

Another theme about the book is Crusoe's preoccupation with mastery. Crusoe is determined to dominate everything he comes in contact with. In fact, when teaching Friday English, he teaches him to call him "Master" before teaching him "yes" and "no." In fact, Crusoe never refers to any other character by their name--very odd.

Despite these peculiarities, Daniel Defoe has created a wonderful story and portrayed it with utmost detail. Defoe really thought about every aspect of human survival, and provides an uncanny amount of realism. If you like adventures, and don't mind long descriptions, then this book is perfect.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Original Man on a Deserted Island, September 22, 2009
By 
E. David Swan (Denver, Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
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I really didn't know the details of Robinson Crusoe besides the cartoon image of him lounging in his hammock on a deserted island, with his long shaggy beard and conical fur cap. Oh, and he had a man named Friday who helped him. So what does one do for nearly thirty years on a mostly deserted tropical island? Apparently grow corn, raise goats and spend a whole lot of time building a wall.

The book dates all the way back to 1719 and as such the writing tends to be rather stiff and formal. It's mostly a very detailed accounting of Crusoe's daily existence following a shipwreck on a small tropical island. There are two main themes to the story besides the marooning. The first is the classic situation of the white Englishman, thrust into a strange situation, mastering his environment while keeping a stiff upper lip. Crusoe was sort of a precursor to Tarzan. The second theme is Crusoe's religious conversion. Not that he wasn't Christian to begin with but throughout the book he seeks comfort in the Christian God and grows more devout. You cannot simply overlook this theme because it's so prevalent that much of the book read like a religious tract. When Crusoe was converting Friday to Christianity I felt like I was being witnessed to by Daniel Defoe.

The character of Robinson Crusoe is clearly a product of his time. After years of living alone, his island starts to become a stopping point for some natives visiting on canoes. The problem is they're cannibals who happen to be using Crusoe's island as a dining location. Despite being terrified of being discovered, Crusoe toys with the idea of slaughtering all the natives but wonders whether or not this act would be consistent with his Christians beliefs. His second idea is to separate a couple of the natives from the rest and capture them as slaves. This didn't seem to conflict with his Christian beliefs. Now in defense of the writer slavery didn't end in England until 1772 but Robinson Crusoe seems particularly keen on dominating people around him. After Crusoe saves Friday from becoming the natives Friday special he instructs him to address Crusoe as `master'. Later, after Crusoe and Friday save a Spaniard (along with Friday's father) who was in dire peril of being consumed, Crusoe ponders his growing kingdom and considers the other residents of the island his subjects. He even insists that the Spaniard express fealty towards him. Others arrive on the island and each time Robinson Crusoe has them agree to be forever subservient to him.

So what do you say about a book with stiff writing, some dubious ethics (Crusoe and Friday do eventually kill over a dozen natives) and a weak ending? I tend to hold classics to a higher standard and this one didn't live up to my expectations. On the other hand this book is going on 300 years old and it's probably unfair to judge it too harshly. I would consider Robinson Crusoe more of a groundbreaker than a literary masterpiece. I think for me the hardest part was that the book actually grew weaker the further I read until the ending which felt really tacked on. Daniel Defoe clearly doesn't follow the traditional rules of writing but then again that might be because he wrote before many of the rules of novel writing even existed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly readable 300 year-old adventure, though the early 18th century evidently lacked editors, December 25, 2008
By 
Christopher Culver (Cluj-Napoca, Romania or Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Robinson Crusoe (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (B&N Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
The name "Robinson Crusoe" readily conjures up images of a sad castaway on a desert island, who after years of solitude comes up a man's footprint in the sand. But in reading Daniel Defoe's novel of 1719, I was surprised how different the work is from its common stereotype. Not until about 50 pages in does Crusoe end up a castaway, having before hand some misadventures as a young sailor. Instead of washing up on his island with just the clothes on his back, he in fact is able to get a great many useful tools and implements from his still intact wreck. And the man's footprint, instead of being the sign of another Crusoe subsequently encounters, is just a sign that some cannibals from the mainland visit the island on occassion.

All in all ROBINSON CRUSOE is an entertaining novel, one with much adventure and intrigue. One gets a lot of pleasure from reading of how Crusoe turns the basic furnishings of the island to his own use, having by the end of his confinement there such things as cheese, three houses, two canoes, and pottery. ROBINSON CRUSOE is also an interesting portrait of the times, for it was much influenced by popular attitudes of the early 1700s. Crusoe occasionally voices his dislike of the Spaniards, their atrocities in the Americas, and their Roman Catholic religion. But Defoe is hardly more charitable to the Native Americans, whose ignorance and godless depravity Crusoe deplores constantly.

To criticize a 300 year-old classic might be a silly exercise, but I doubt many readers will find this novel an elegantly crafted work. It's repetitive, for one. How many times do we need to read that Crusoe is reluctant to kill the maneaters? And the writer didn't seem to know when to stop, for after Crusoe's return to civilization we get an unnecessary battle with wolves in the woods of France. No wonder that the novel has so often circulated in abridgement.

I read this book in the Penguin Popular Classics edition, ISBN 0140623154, which I would recommend if you just want some reading material without making a permanent addition to your library. It is printed on poor quality paper, but is priced quite low. It has no notes or commentary, but you really don't need them. Indeed, I'm surprised how smoothly readable ROBINSON CRUSOE is considering that it was written in the English of 300 years ago (even later works like TRISTRAM SHANDY present more of a challenge), and I'd even recommend it to a young person wanting just a fun adventure story.
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Robinson Crusoe (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (B&N Classics)
Robinson Crusoe (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (B&N Classics) by Daniel Defoe (Mass Market Paperback - April 1, 2003)
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