Interest in Robinson Crusoe has been on the rise during the past year, now that survival in the wilderness has become a staple of prime time. Explorer Takahashi's book examines the life and adventures of Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, the real-life model for Daniel Defoe's ultimate survivor. In Search of Robinson Crusoe records Takahashi's quest to understand what kind of man Selkirk was and how he had lived alone on an uninhabited island for four years and four months. Takahashi's hunt for the facts of Selkirk's life took him from the town of Largo in Scotland to the seas off the coast of Chile. In Scotland, Takahashi records his meeting with a descendant of Selkirk's, and uncovers records which detail the trouble Selkirk caused whenever he wasn't on a ship. After pursing his historical subject to Robinson Crusoe Island, Takahashi lived alone in the wilderness for a month, discovering how Selkirk survived and searching out the places where he lived, hunted, and fought off harrowing loneliness while hoping for rescue. The author's search for evidence of Selkirk's existence on Robinson Crusoe Island not only yields revelations about how the 18th-century man lived and grew attached to his rugged surroundings; for Takahashi, the journey in the footsteps of the real-life Crusoe is a test of his own abilities to survive in the wilderness, and the fulfillment of a boyhood dream.
Daisuke Takahashi, a world traveler and Elected Fellow of both the Explorers Club in New York and the Royal Geographical Society in London, lives in Japan. In Search of Robinson Crusoe was recently published in Japan to great acclaim.