First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe is a book that marks the beginning of realistic fiction writing in English. Its simple, linear narrative style and the semblance of being a true account and autobiographical in nature led to its great popularity when it first came out.
Its original title The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York: Mariner, Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years all alone in an Uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great River of Ooronoque, Having Been Cast Ashore By Shipwreck, Wherein All the Men Perished But Himself; With an Account How He Was At Last Strangely Deliver'd By Pyrates pretty much sums up the entire plot!
Daniel Defoe the author is said to have been greatly inspired by the newspaper and journal accounts he had read about the explorer Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish seaman who was marooned on a Pacific Island. Other scholars identify the root of the story in various other sources, but whatever its origin, Robinson Crusoe became a runaway best seller and continues to remain one of the most popular and widely read adventure stories in English.
The story tells of young Crusoe who is passionate about a career on board a ship. He runs away from home and after a couple of false starts, joins an expedition to transport slaves from Africa and South America. Following a storm that destroys the ship and all its crew except Crusoe, he swims to safety to a desert island. His adventures on the island and how he survives, using the meager tools and resources available to him, form the rest of the plot.
Defoe himself was a man of many talents. He was a writer, trader and also a spy! He was also a prolific producer of thousands of pamphlets on the topic of the day, apart from some 500 books, most of which are unknown to modern readers today. However, Robinson Crusoe has rendered him immortal and generations of readers have read the novel, enthralled and captivated by the amazing adventure story. In fact, the footprint scene is one that's truly worthy of goose bumps and writers like Robert Louis Stevenson have called it one of the four most unforgettable scenes in English literature.
In this edition created especially for children, there are plenty of illustrations and the text has been adapted to suit younger readers.