A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier [NOOK Book]

Overview

Darwin took his books aboard the Beagle. Swift and Defoe used his experiences as inspiration in writing Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe. Captain Cook relied on his observations while voyaging around the world. Coleridge called him a genius and "a man of exquisite mind." In the history of exploration, nobody has ventured further than Englishman William Dampier. Yet while the exploits of Cook, Shackleton, and a host of legendary explorers have been widely chronicled, those of perhaps the greatest are ...
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A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier

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Overview

Darwin took his books aboard the Beagle. Swift and Defoe used his experiences as inspiration in writing Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe. Captain Cook relied on his observations while voyaging around the world. Coleridge called him a genius and "a man of exquisite mind." In the history of exploration, nobody has ventured further than Englishman William Dampier. Yet while the exploits of Cook, Shackleton, and a host of legendary explorers have been widely chronicled, those of perhaps the greatest are virtually invisible today-an omission that Diana and Michael Preston have redressed in this vivid, compelling biography.

As a young man Dampier spent several years in the swashbuckling company of buccaneers in the Caribbean. At a time when surviving one voyage across the Pacific was cause for celebration, Dampier ultimately journeyed three times around the world; his bestselling books about his experiences were a sensation, influencing generations of scientists, explorers, and writers. He was the first to deduce that winds cause currents and the first to produce wind maps across the world, surpassing even the work of Edmund Halley. He introduced the concept of the "sub-species" that Darwin later built into his theory of evolution, and his description of the breadfruit was the impetus for Captain Bligh's voyage on the Bounty. Dampier reached Australia 80 years before Cook, and he later led the first formal expedition of science and discovery there.

A Pirate of Exquisite Mind restores William Dampier to his rightful place in history-one of the pioneers on whose insights our understanding of the natural world was built.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802718136
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 563,986
  • File size: 14 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Born and raised in London, Diana Preston studied Modern History at Oxford University, where she first became involved in journalism. After earning her degree, she became a freelance writer of feature and travel articles for national UK newspapers and magazines and has subsequently reviewed books for a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times. A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier (Walker & Company, April 2004) is a new biography of the 17th-century British explorer, naturalist, scientist, pirate and buccaneer William Dampier coauthored by Diana and her husband, Michael Preston.

Diana Preston is an Oxford-trained historian and the author of A First Rate Tragedy, The Boxer Rebellion, Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy, and Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima, which won the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology. With her husband, Michael, she has coauthored A Pirate of Exquisite Mind and Taj Mahal. She lives in London, England.
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    A Man of Science, & oh, Yeah, he was a Pirate, too

    William Dampier was a man of science far ahead of his time. He also lived as a pirate. He contributed 1,000 words to the English language. His life and books influenced such men of letters and science as Charles Darwin, Daniel Defoe, Captain James Cook, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Jonathan Swift, yet he is barely heard about today. Why? Read this book and find out. In A PIRATE OF EXQUISITE MIND the authors, Diana and Michael Preston, move through his life in fascinating detail, but they also put him squarely into the milieu of the 17th century. If you¿re interested in adventurers, pirates, or science, William Dampier¿s unique life will charm you. The book includes notes and sources, bibliography, index, and art credits. -- Leslie Strang Akers

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2004

    Interesting but someone needs to write the historical novel

    Those that go first are many times not the most noble or the most rewarded by history. So it appears was the case of William Dampier who for much of his life in the late 1600s and early 1700s was a Pirate, which it might be said was legal so long as you plundered the other country¿s ships. But what comes through the most in this rather flat and uneven biography is how much travel and knowledge a simple buccaneer was able to accomplish before the far more recognized Captain Cook. Danpier, it appears, was responsible for creating travel writing, had an intense ability to observe the natural world, and noted wind and navigation in areas not seen again by western eyes for over a hundred years. It¿s claimed that his writing was the inspiration for Darwin, Jonathan Swift, and Daniel Defoe¿s Robinson Crusoe. Yet as compelling as this life appears to be the book Diana Preston and her husband Michael have crafted is more interesting than compelling. More a he went here and saw this and then that chronicle than the ripping good story that is behind the facts. Perhaps this needed to be an historical novel to elevate the excitement and sense of wonder. The Preston¿s book is a cut below the recent excellent great sea and exploration non-fiction such as the far better book on Magellan by Bergreen, or Sea of Glory by Philbrick, or Tony Horwitz¿s marvelous traveling biography of Captain Cook, Blue Latitude or even Diana Preston¿s wonderful book on the Robert Falcon Scott book, A First Rate Tragedy. Overall, I found it a bit flat and dry but always interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2004

    A real Star Trek exploration of where no man had gone before

    Learn how a stone age people beguiled and destroyed a strong, aggressive, and technologically superior group of pirates (Damphiere escaped).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2004

    Nothing slow about this one

    This book is a great summer read. I enjoyed all of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    Will the Real Stephin Maturin Please Stand Up!

    A real sleeper that I received as a gift and had never heard of. He's an adventurer, buccaneer and naturalist. Does that sound familiar? He must have been O'Brien's real life inspiration for his Stephen Maturin. A great read, The truth always beats fiction!

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