Kidnapped (Enriched Classics Series)
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Kidnapped (Enriched Classics Series)

3.3 9
by Robert Louis Stevenson, Cynthia Brantley Johnson, Karen Davidson

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The adventures of David Balfour, a young orphan, as he journeys through the dangerous Scottish Highlands in an attempt to regain his rightful inheritance.


  • A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information



The adventures of David Balfour, a young orphan, as he journeys through the dangerous Scottish Highlands in an attempt to regain his rightful inheritance.


  • A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information
  • A chronology of the author's life and work
  • A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context
  • An outline of key themes and plot points to guide the reader's own interpretations
  • Detailed explanatory notes
  • Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work
  • Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction
  • A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.


Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Enriched Classics Series
Edition description:
Enriched Classic
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction by Margot Livesey


When I was growing up in Scotland, Robert Louis Stevenson was the first author whom I knew by name, and he remains the only one whom I can truthfully claim to have been reading all my life. From an early age, my parents read to me from A Child's Garden of Verses, and I soon learned some of the poems by heart.

I have a little shadow
that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him
is more than I can see.

Perhaps I recognized, even then, Stevenson's unique gift for keeping a foot in two camps. While the poems vividly captured my childish concerns, somewhere in the margins shimmered the mystery of adult life. A few years later Kidnapped was the first chapter book I read, and I can still picture the maroon binding and the black-and-white drawings that illustrated David Balfour's adventures. At the age of seven, a book without pictures would have been out of the question, but, in fact, they turned out to be superfluous. I could imagine everything that happened just from the words on the page, although I must admit to the small advantage that the view from my bedroom window—bare hills, rocks, heather—was very much like the landscape of Kidnapped.

At first glance such early acquaintance might seem like a good omen for an author's reputation. In actuality, that Stevenson is so widely read by children has tended to make him seem like an author from who, as adults, we have little to learn. It is worth noting that his contemporaries would not have shared this prejudice. Nineteenth-century readers did not regard children's books as separate species. Stevenson's ownfather often reread The Parent's Assistant, a volume of children's stories, and Leslie Stephen, Virginia Woolf's father, writes of staying up late to finish Treasure Island.

Like the shadow of his poem, Stevenson's reputation has waxed and waned at an alarming rate. He died in a blaze of hagiography, which perhaps in part explains the fury of later critics. F.R. Leavis in The Great Tradition dismisses Stevenson (in a footnote, no less) as a romantic writer, guilty of fine writing, and in general Stevenson has not fared as well as his friend Henry James. People comment with amazement that Borges and Nabokov praised his novels. Still, his best work has remained in print for over a hundred years, and his is among that small group of authors to have given a phrase to the language: Jekyll and Hyde.

Besides our perception of Stevenson as a children's author, two other factors may have contributed to his ambiguous reputation. Although his list of publications is much longer than most people realize—he wrote journalism and travel pieces for money—he failed to produce a recognizable oeuvre, a group of works that stand together, each resonating with the others. In addition, the pendulum of literary taste has swung in a direction that Stevenson disliked and was determined to avoid: namely, pessimism. After reading The Portrait of a Lady he wrote to James begging him to write no more such books, and while he admired the early work of Thomas Hardy, he hated the darker Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The English writer John Galsworthy commented memorably on this aspect of Stevenson when he said that the superiority of Stevenson over Hardy was that Stevenson was all life, while Hardy was all death.

From the Paperback edition.

Copyright 2001 by Robert Louis Stevenson

Meet the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850. He spent his childhood in Edinburgh, Scotland, but traveled widely in the United States and throughout the South Seas. The author of many novels, including The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, The Black Arrow, and Treasure Island, he died in 1894.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 13, 1850
Date of Death:
December 3, 1894
Place of Birth:
Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of Death:
Vailima, Samoa
Edinburgh University, 1875

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Kidnapped (Enriched Classics Series) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorites. I first read kidnapped in high school after being recomended by a friend. 30years later and read three times i still find it hard to put down. They dont write them like that anymore.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Im bored
LisasGeode More than 1 year ago
This paragon of colorful and lovely writing is now often classified as YA, young adult. My unabridged version would be a challenge for less than a strong high school reader. The language is appropriate for the mid-1700s setting primarily in Scotland. That makes the vocabulary sometimes obscure or unfamiliar to twenty-first century readers. That is surely not a complaint. The story, language, and structure are terrific and the footnotes and dictionary in this version really helped with that. The story: David Balfour at age 17 becomes an orphan upon the death of his father. Following instructions his father had given the local preacher, David seeks the uncle he never before knew existed, the one holding the family’s traditional manor. The uncle’s shady dealings with some sailors lead to the sailors’ taking away David without his consent. Upon the ship, David faces personal hardships as well as seeing rather unsavory men doing rather unsavory things. When a curious event leads to Alan Breck’s entrance onto the ship, David’s life changes in ways he couldn’t have foreseen. He and Breck become allies and friends through many harrowing events, including a battle with the ship’s sailors, shipwreck, false accusations, overcoming political differences, and life on the run through dangerous and inhospitable terrain in Scotland. The politics of the day influence their tale and life in Scotland, where many disagree with the British king. David as a character is very well made, Breck nearly so, and their relationship, which becomes central to the story in many ways, is developed beautifully. This reader was a bit surprised that the tale never left the British Isles, but found it to be exotic, exciting, and captivating. Good adventure in great writing.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really into reading this book it is very dramatic. I couldnt put it down i was really into how the kid was coming along straight to the end. It is based with the political side of how goverment was in ireland back when the british ruled it. I found it sad but intriging. I find the book to be ok
Bill Hughes More than 1 year ago
the sample is boring all it is it tells about the auther for like 30 pages and then it is only 1 page of the book.