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

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"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. mong many extraordinary achievements Dampier mapped the winds and the currents of the world's oceans for the first time; he led the first recorded party of Englishmen to set foot on Australia - 80 years before Cook; he was an enthusiastic naturalist and following his visit to the Galapagos islands he wrote about their wildlife 150 years before Darwin, who drew on Dampier's notes in his own work; he was the first travel writer- A NEW VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD was embraced by the literary world and became an instant bestseller when it was published in 1697 - it was said to have influenced the novels of Swift and Defoe. TIDES OF FORTUNE looks at Dampier the man full of contradictions, and analyses why he who achieved so much 'blew it' later in life, declining into scandal, controversy, failure and ven farce. A unique man ahead of his time, he lived a large part of life among pirates yet managed to preserve what Coleridge called his 'exquisite refinem

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

A decent overview of the life of William Dampier, who could indeed be described as a pirate, explorer, naturalist, &c. given all the various and disparate things that he managed to do during his career. A bit overly digressive at times, but other than that, a good read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - msf59 - LibraryThing

I read this, as part of my first group read. It's a terrific biography! The research was awe-inspiring and the narrative flow was perfect. Pirate or not, Dampier was one heck of an explorer and naturalist, just sadly neglected. I highly recommend it! Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Diana Preston is an Oxford-trained historian, writer, and broadcaster who lives in London. She is the author of The Road to Culloden Moor; A First Rate Tragedy- Robert Falcon Scott and the Race to the South Pole; The Boxer Rebellionand Wilful Murder- The Sinking of the Lusitania. Michael Preston, Diana Preston's husband, read English at Oxford University and is now an historian and traveller.

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