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a pirate of exquisite mind

the life of william dampier


 diana and michael preston

in 1676, William Dampier started his career as a buccaneer preying on ships on the Spanish Main and struggling through the impenetrable jungle of the Isthmus of Panama in search of gold. Poor and obscure yet determined to sail the world and to make his fortune, he was to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe three times.

Among his many extraordinary and pioneering achievements, Dampier mapped the winds and the ocean's currents for the first time. He landed in Australia eighty years before Cook and brought back the first scientific specimens. He inspired Darwin a hundred and fifty years later with his wildlife notes on the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere. He wrote the bestselling travel books which influenced Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe.

741 pp   -   Paperback   -   Published 2004


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