A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain
Britain in the early eighteenth century: an introduction that is both informative and imaginative, reliable and entertaining. To the tradition of travel writing Daniel Defoe brings a lifetime's experience as a businessman, soldier, economic journalist and spy, and his Tour (1724-6) is an invaluable source of social and economic history. But this book is far more than a beautifully written guide to Britain just before the industrial revolution, for Defoe possessed a wild, inventive streak that endows his work with astonishing energy and tension, and the Tour is his deeply imaginative response to a brave new economic world. By employing his skills as a chronicler, a polemicist and a creative writer keenly sensitive to the depredations of time, Defoe more than achieves his aim of rendering 'the present state' of Britain.
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of the county, have been saved out of the River Thames, and out of the sea,
where the river is wide enough to be called so, begin here. From hence eastward
, growing wider and wider, till we come beyond Tilbury, when the flat country lies
... or of contrary winds, a fleet of five hundred to seven hundred sail of ships,
comes up the river at a time, yet they never want ... which are built there, and they
tell us, that there are more ships generally seen at Amsterdam, than in the
River Thames. This brings me to mention the Vale of Aylesbury; which is eminent
for the richest land, and perhaps the richest graziers in England. But it is more
particularly famous for the head of the River Thame or Thames, which rises in this
What people are saying - Write a review
This journal of a series of trips "circuits" around England in the 1720's is part travelogue, part witty examination of legends, fables, & "history, part economic catalog, and part survery of facts of England.
It's written by Daniel Defoe-writer, journalist, soldier, & spy. Although less well known than some of his other works, it's well written and worth the effort.
The book captures England on the cusp of dramatic change. England was emerging into peace and prosperity after decades of dynastic and religious wars. Defoe captures English life just at the beginning of industrialization.
While popular with social historians and economists for all the detail it provides about life in this period, Defoe's witty and direct prose make it an interesting read for anyone wanting to learn more about 18th Century England.
A Summary of Defoes Career
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