A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain

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Penguin Adult, 1971 - Travel - 730 pages
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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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
The Tour

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About the author (1971)

Daniel Defoe (c.1660-1731), one of the most famous writers in English literature, was born in London, the son of James Foe, a butcher. It was Daniel who changed his name to De Foe or Defoe in about 1705. He was interested in politics and opposed King James II. After the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and William III was on the throne, Defoe became one of his personal friends. He became a writer for the government and a satircal writer on various social issues of the time. He turned to full time writing after hearing the inspirational story of a sailor who was rescued after living alone on a desert island in the Pacific, the result being his first novel ROBINSON CRUSOE. Several other adventure stories followed, including MOLL FLANDERS.

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