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Publisher's Summary

Widely regarded as the first English novel, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is one of the most popular and influential adventure stories of all time.

This classic tale of shipwreck and survival on an uninhabited island was an instant success when first published in 1719, and it has inspired countless imitations.

In his own words, Robinson Crusoe tells of the terrible storm that drowned all his shipmates and left him marooned on a deserted island. Forced to overcome despair, doubt, and self-pity, he struggles to create a life for himself in the wilderness. From practically nothing, Crusoe painstakingly learns how to make pottery, grow crops, domesticate livestock, and build a house. His many adventures are recounted in vivid detail, including a fierce battle with cannibals and his rescue of Friday, the man who becomes his trusted companion.

Full of enchanting detail and daring heroics, Robinson Crusoe is a celebration of courage, patience, ingenuity, and hard work.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

Public Domain (P)2008 Tantor

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • William
  • Midlothian, VA, United States
  • 2011-03-02

Fantastic Story and Excellent Narration

Exciting storyline and excellent narration really brings this book to life. I could listen to Simon Vance read the phone book. :)

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • David S. Mathew
  • 2018-01-29

Adrift

This is probably Daniel Defoe’s best known story and possibly the first English language novel ever written. Inspired by the life of explorer Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe is the story of a shipwrecked English sailor as he struggles to survive while marooned on a tropical island somewhere off the coast of Africa. Despite being written in the early 1700s, the narrative hold up incredibly well. Some parts will strike a modern reader as fairly racist, but I could forgive that considering the time period. To this day, Robinson Crusoe remains an incredible, and surprisingly philosophical, adventure story of a lone man struggling to survive in the unforgiving wilderness.

As for the narration, I’m a huge fan of Simon Vance in general. That said, I think this might be his best work yet. He perfectly captures Crusoe’s voice and Vance’s own natural accent pushes a good performance into the realm of a fantastic one. Just click on the sample and you’ll see/hear what I mean. What are you waiting for? Beyond highly recommended!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 2017-03-21

the prodigal without a return


? would it interest you to read the first english novel ever written
? does man's relation to God and the natural world interest you
? do you find introspection and self-reliance to be admirable male virtues

daniel defoe's seminal novel has intrigued readers for centuries
it resonates with old testament judgement, themes and consequences
the story aligns with jonah, the prodigal son and the israelites' exodus

the writing style is surprisingly practical and matter-of-fact
obstacles and efforts and the necessary details of survival predominate
our hero is often disconsolate but rarely depressed or defeated

the book has a significant dose of well presented calvinist theology
defoe assumes that man " left alone " naturally orients toward God
the novel presents true faith and salvation as personal and not institutional

a friend of mine, in college, said he re-read " robinson crusoe " every year
as a young man, this seemed far fetched to me and a bit foolish
now that i'm a grandfather, his choice seems reasonable and even wise





12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • MaugerDStaunton
  • 2012-05-20

Stands the Test of Time!

This classic by Daniel Defoe needs no introduction from me to be familiar to Audible readers. It is the work that Defoe is most well known for, and if you have read his other works you know why. Defoe was a political and religious propagandist and because of this most of his works are philisophical in nature and tend to bore most readers. Robinson Crusoe was his attempt to roll his propaganda into a fiction form that would captivate a reader long enough for him to get his message across. His success with Robinson Crusoe is probably why his later fiction works become saturated with his belief system and tend to dry out quickly and leave the reader feeling like they are being preached to rather than a story told. With this book he strikes a good balance however and creates the masterpiece that stands the test of time.

Simon Vance was the perfect reader for this work, and really made it come alive. His reading of Robinson Crusoe did it justice and was truly enjoyable to listen to.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Craft
  • 2009-04-05

Great adventure book

one of my favorite books of all time. i've read this book several times growing up and have always found the imagry of daniel defoes writings exceptional. i like to listen to this on my mp3 as i work out at the gym

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tad Davis
  • 2012-10-25

Great story but with moments that made me cringe

Robinson Crusoe is a great story, but it has some cringe-able moments. The big one, the one I didn't remember from high school, was the purpose of Crusoe's voyage when he was shipwrecked on the island: he was the supercargo on a slave ship, intending to buy "slaves for trinkets" on the west coast of Africa, some of them destined for his own slave plantation in Brazil. It would be nice to report that by the end of the book, after his association with Friday, he came to realize the trade was evil, but such is not the case.

The first word he teaches Friday is the name he decided to call him by - the day of the week on which he rescued Friday from cannibals. (He never bothers trying to learn Friday's original name in his own language.) The second word he teaches him is the name by which he wants to be addressed: Master.

This bothered me enough that I spent some time looking up the history of abolitionism in England. Apparently it didn't really take off until another generation or two after the book was written (in 1719). So Defoe doesn't quite get a free pass in my book for this, but at least it can be argued that he was simply not ahead of his time on this issue.

Still, it's a great story, and well worth listening to. Crusoe pieces together a life of reasonable comfort, using flotsam from the wreck that stranded him on the island, and a bit of ingenuity. He keeps track of time by cutting notches in a post. He discovers living seeds among the trash he brought back, and by careful experimenting over several years, he is able to raise a respectable crop of wheat. He comes to a kind of accommodation with the cannibals who periodically visit the island: he realizes that he has no right to kill them just because he abhors their way of life.

But eventually he does kill a few and rescue one of their fellow cannibals, who was about to become a meal himself. This young man he names Friday. As Friday learns English and they begin having more substantial conversations, Crusoe tries to teach him Christianity. (I have to admit that I found Friday's questions and objections more persuasive than Crusoe's answers.) Eventually they are rescued and leave the island.

A major loose end in the plot concerns Friday's father and a small group of Spanish soldiers, whom Friday and Crusoe rescue from yet another band of cannibals. They return to the island they came from, where a larger group of Spaniards resides, to bring them news of Crusoe and the greater safety to be had on his island. But Crusoe returns to England before they get back. (This loose end is tied up neatly in the sequel, the Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.)

There are many excellent audio versions of this story available. The one by John Lee is also recommended. (It uses a different set of chapter breaks than this one: apparently Defoe published the story without breaks, and chapters have been added in different forms by later editors.) Simon Vance's version has a slight edge, in my opinion, because his Crusoe has a Yorkshire twang: Crusoe is, after all, a Yorkshireman. (My "expertise" in this comes from many years of watching Sean Bean and listening to Richard Sharpe audiobooks.) Vance, as always, gives a well-modulated, evenly-paced performance.

44 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-01

Outstanding tale of adventure, survival, religion, history

Originally published in 1719, this story has themes of survival, continuous improvement, economics, philosophy, religion, history, providence and delivery. An amazing adventure. Makes one realize to look on the bright side of things vs wallow in misery. Ask yourself, what would I do if I were shipwrecked? Then read how Robinson conquers it. Thrilling!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela Petrillo
  • Hayden, Colorado
  • 2019-02-07

classic

Loved it from start to finish. I've always heard of this story but had never heard it. Well worth the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kimberly
  • ANN ARBOR, MI, United States
  • 2009-02-07

Well worth the money

Inflection and accent of narrator is engaging. Almost as good as a dramatization. Four stars. I highly suggest this reading to college or high school students.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Radish Bliss
  • Holdenville, OK
  • 2012-03-30

If you think you know it, you are wrong

Any additional comments?

Don't pass by this book because you've seen too many movies of it.
This book is surprisingly not like those movies.

Now I'm thinking those movies had other agendas. Listen and you might know what I mean. Stop trying to change history! Bad stuff happened and still happens.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful