A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: The Life of William Dampier

A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: The Life of William Dampier

Paperback

By (author) Diana Preston, By (author) Michael Preston

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  • Publisher: Corgi Books
  • Format: Paperback | 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 198mm x 32mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2005
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0552772100
  • ISBN 13: 9780552772105
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps, ports.
  • Sales rank: 23,244

Product description

William Dampier, (1651-1715), was an English adventurer and pirate who preyed on ships on the Spanish Main. Poor and ill-educated and determined to make his fortune, he nonetheless had a passion for exploration and scientific research. Dampier was the first to map the winds and currents of the world's oceans; led the first recorded party of Englishmen to set foot on Australia - 80 years before Cook; wrote about Galapagos wildlife 150 years before Darwin, who drew on Dampier's notes in his own work; was the first travel writer: A NEW VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD was instant bestseller when it was published in 1697 - said to have influenced the novels of Swift and Defoe. A man full of contradictions: he who achieved so much 'blew it' later in life, declining into scandal, failure and even farce. A unique man ahead of his time, he lived a large part of his life among pirates yet managed to preserve what Coleridge called his exquisite refinement of mind. A classic example of the best narrative history

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Author information

Diana Preston is an Oxford-trained historian, writer, and broadcaster who lives in London. She is the author of The Road to Culloden Moor; A First Rate Tragedy: Robert Falcon Scott and the Race to the South Pole; The Boxer Rebellion and Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the Lusitania. Michael Preston, Diana Preston's husband, read English at Oxford University and is now an historian and traveller.

Review quote

"Lively... extraordinary life - an unlikely combination of plundering and pioneering achievements in natural history and exploration" The Sunday Times "Gripping and well-researched... An impressive achievement" Guardian "This long overdue biography wonderfully brings to life one of the most important explorers of the seventeenth century" -- Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea "This eloquently enthusiastic biography, besides charting Dampier's astonishing achievements, offers fascinating information about his times" The Age, Melbourne