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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2006
  • ISBN: 9780099438069
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $24.99

The English Dane

From King of Iceland to Tasmanian Convict

The best kind of history - a ripping naval yarn set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars in Europe and the colonising of Tasmania.

This gripping nineteenth-century adventure stars Jorgen Jorgenson, a Dane who made Britain his adopted country. Restless for adventure, he came to London, and began his career by sailing to establish the new colony of Tasmania. Twists of fortune then found him captaining a ship for Napoleon before travelling with British traders to Iceland where he found his moment of glory: ruling the country for two months after staging an outrageous coup.
Much lay ahead, from imprisonment in the hulks, patronage by Joseph Banks, to travels in Europe as a British spy. But Jorgensen was dogged by his own excesses, and ended up transported as a convict to the very colony he helped to found. Here he reinvented himself again as an explorer, and, despite his sympathy for the people, was caught up in the terrible Aboriginal clearances. Using unpublished sources and letters, Sarah Bakewell tells his extraordinary tale with dazzling verve.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2006
  • ISBN: 9780099438069
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell had a wandering childhood in Europe, Australia and England. After studying at the University of Essex, she wrote fiction and worked in bookshops before becoming Curator of early printed books at the Wellcome Institute Library for the History of Medicine in London. She curated an exhibition with Marina Warner for the Science Museum and catalogues rare book collections for the National Trust. She is the author of The Smart;The English Dane: From King of Iceland to Tasmanian Convict, and the bestselling biography How to Live: A life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer. www.sarahbakewell.com

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Praise for The English Dane

“'Precise, amusing and intriguing.A vivid and moving portrait of an extraordinary but flawed man'”

Daily Telegraph

“'Sarah Bakewell has a fine story to tell, and she is its skilled servant...A wonderful, intelligently told story'”

Thomas Keneally, Guardian

“'An accomplished book'”

Sunday Times

“'Unsettling and powerful' ”

Literary Review

“'Bakewell is superbly matched to the task. Her account of the world encountered by Jorgenson is as rich and nuanced as her description of his life'”


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