March 14, 2018 at 11:42 am #6098
Moving stuff to my new place I’ve found a book that really got me:
William Dampier 1683-1691.
Put the book on top of my reading list and finished it within tree days, just couldn’t stop reading; it’s that good.
The book seems to be from around 1970, some special print without ISBN, but if you can find something similar: read it!
He’s not wandering off into too much detail, still giving enough information so you can imagine the places.
Some have strange names, like Ke Cho, which is nowadays Hanoi/Viet Nam, but still not hard to follow.
March 14, 2018 at 6:36 pm #6101
Ah yes. I think I know the book.
Is it “A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer – The Life of William Dampier”
ISBN 0-425-20037-X (pbk.)
By Diana & Michael Preston
Published in 2004 by The Berkeley Publishing Group
That IS indeed a good read. I read it not long after it was published. I felt like some of the attributes of Maturin in the fictional novels were actually taken from the real life Dampier who lived a century before in the true time of discovery that marks the Golden century. In the preface where it speaks to Dampier intentionally bird watching – excitedly noting seeing flamingos for his very first time off the coast of west Africa in 1683 – I instantly thought of the movie Master and Commander when they were meandering about the Galapagos Islands.
Only this story is actually TRUE and REAL!
Here’s the Amazon link and a review. Maybe one of these days when I have more time I will write my own review. Its an AWESOME read though and I heartily recommend it. MK
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent Book Across Several Disciplines
January 21, 2006
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was first brought to my attention when it was being discussed on NPR. Diana Preston sounded like she was actually gushing when she talked about William Dampier. After reading this book, one can certainly understand why. While there are many gaps in the historical record – we know virtually nothing about Dampier’s personal life, Diana and Michael Preston weave what is known into a highly enjoyable narrative that moves at the speed of an action novel.
William Dampier, a Scot, was a fascinating person. Like so many young unattached men of his time, he naturally turned to the sea as a means of livelihood. Like most sailors, he was a keen observer of the world around him. However, unlike many of his peers, he documented those observations, kept his papers in good order, and published his observations as sort of a half scientific journal/half travel story. He became sort of a folk hero to the large portions of English population who were wealthy enough to own his books, but not to experience the larger world first hand. His keen scientific observations deeply influenced meteorology, biology, and cartography for the next two hundred years. His charts were still in use as late as WWII.
Today, it is difficult for a layperson to be taken seriously by scientific community. Thus a common sailor and buccaneer who is also at the cutting edge of scientific study seems somewhat incredulous to the modern reader. Yet, in this sense, the 16th and 17th century scientific community was a bit more egalitarian then the current one. Yet this is a world where slavery was accepted as a fact of life and basic human dignity, especially for non-whites, was a luxury vice a fundamental right.
Likewise, Dampier himself was a case study in contradictions. A keen observer and analyst of the natural world, he seems completely unable to understand human nature. A gifted planner, navigator, and tough fighter; he fails at every leadership role that life thrusts upon him. Despite the fact that he was almost a folk hero at the time of his last expedition, he is more or less forgotten to the modern world with the exception of Western Australia. He was, after all, the first Englishman to visit Australia – sorry Capt Cook.
This book will appeal to anyone who is interested in the age of exploration, the history of science, or British history in the late 17th Century. The main drawback to this book is that there is very little insight into William Dampier’s personal life. For example, the authors do not know when Dampier’s wife died or much about her life when he was not at home. Regardless, this is a history book that is as readable as any novel.
March 15, 2018 at 8:28 pm #6105
It’s a bit older than that, just “William Dampier Freibeuter 1683-1691”.
Yeah, I got the impression he’s more of the exploring type, not exactly fitting the pirate picture.
And he had Flamingo for dinner….
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by Jolie Rouge