The Life and Adventures of Alexander Selkirk

John Howell (1788 - 1863)

This work was the true story of Alexander Selkirk (1676 to December 13, 1721), a Scottish sailor who was employed in a number of different trades during his early life. As a young man, Selkirk learned the skills of tanning and shoemaking, and later became a buccaneer (a government-sanctioned pirate) on the Cinque Ports, working his way up to the position of ship's sailing master or navigator. But in the case of Selkirk, his experiences would eventually help him to survive his isolation on a deserted island in the Juan Fernández archipelago, off the coast of Chile, where he spent 52 months before being rescued.

The Life and Adventures of Alexander Selkirk is a real-life “survivor man” narrative: Alone, pitted against nature with only his wits and the barest of tools at his disposal, the protagonist eventually triumphs over his adversities. Certainly this theme is at the heart of what makes it so timeless, but it includes an exploration into the story of who Selkirk was before the adventure began. In his research, Howell diligently investigated Selkirk's life through parish records from the small town of Largo in Fife, Scotland, where Selkirk was born and spent his childhood. He also conducted interviews with surviving relatives, and gleamed information from the published accounts of others with whom Selkirk had sailed, such as privateer and explorer, Captain William Dampier, and the man who ultimately rescued him, Captain Woodes Rogers. (Introduction by James K. White)

Genre(s): Biography & Autobiography

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Old Buccaneer\'s Song/Introduction James K. White
Play 01 Chapter I James K. White
Play 02 Chapter II James K. White
Play 03 Chapter III James K. White
Play 04 Chapter IV James K. White
Play 05 Chapter V James K. White
Play 06 Appendix, Description Of The Island Of Juan Fernandez James K. White
Play 07 Appendix, Account of Stradling\'s Adventures/Adventures of Captain Dampier James K. White
Play 08 Appendix, Adventures of Clipperton and His Men/Funnel\'s Adventures/Account of Captain Woodes Rogers/Account of Mr. Hatley/Power of Attorney/Selkirk\'s Will James K. White