Read By: Jim Weiss
When Robinson Crusoe was first published in 1719, it was such an immediate success that a second printing was called for three weeks later. Defoe took the true story of a sailor, Alexander Selkirk, who was castaway on an island in 1703, and skillfully embroidered the truth with a wealth of imaginative detail. The novel opens with Crusoe disobeying his father and going out to sea. He plans a slave-gathering expedition which is compromised by a shipwreck on an island near Trinidad, where he toils for his daily needs. Crusoe manages to construct a shelter, secure a food supply, and comes to accept his stay on the island as the product of fate. The novel's theme of solitude laid the foundations for the modern central themes of alienation and isolation. In addition to providing ageless entertainment, Robinson Crusoe contains a message of self-reliance that is probably more needed today than when it was first written.