A Pirate Of Exquisite Mind: The Life Of William Dampier

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Transworld, Dec 14, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 512 pages
33 Reviews

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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A well researched book written in an accessible style. - Goodreads
The writing style of the book is sadly, less amazing. - Goodreads
Diana Preston's writing is superb. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

A decent overview of the life of William Dampier, who could indeed be described as a pirate, explorer, naturalist, &c. given all the various and disparate things that he managed to do during his career. A bit overly digressive at times, but other than that, a good read. Read full review

Review: A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier

User Review  - Peter Tait - Goodreads

An outstanding book, brilliantly written which provides an illuminating insight into one of the great Englishmen of the age. Well worth reading for anyone interested in discovery, history, botany and biography. Read full review

About the author (2010)

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.

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