Author(s): William Dampier
Dampier's (1651-1715) adventures and writing inspired both Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels, but in his own right he was a remarkable, observant and enjoyable writer - whether on a woefully mishandled pirate raid in Spanish America or on a desperate journey to Sumatra in an open boat. He also left the first description in English of the Aborigines of Australia - thus initiating a painful, now three centuries' long encounter between peoples on opposite sides of the world. Great Journeys allows readers to travel both around the planet and back through the centuries - but also back into ideas and worlds frightening, ruthless and cruel in different ways from our own. Few reading experiences can begin to match that of engaging with writers who saw astounding things: Great civilisations, walls of ice, violent and implacable jungles, deserts and mountains, multitudes of birds and flowers new to science.