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The Swiss Family Robinson
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The Swiss Family Robinson

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  63,301 ratings  ·  1,274 reviews
“For many days we had been tempest-tossed…the raging storm increased in fury until on the seventh day all hope was lost.”

From these dire opening lines, a timeless story of adventure begins. One family will emerge alive from this terrible storm: the Robinsons—a Swiss pastor, his wife, and four sons, plus two dogs and a shipload of livestock. Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robi
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 1st 1992 by Bantam Classics (first published 1812)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
More appropriate title suggestion: SHOOT TO KILL! A less catchy but even more precise title would be We Killed a Lot of Animals: The Story of a Family Stranded on an Island, Who Were Never in Serious Danger and Who - I Believe It Has Been Mentioned, Yet Bears Repeating - Killed a Lot of Animals. The way they hauled off and shot at the slightest movement in the bushes was nearly worse than the drunken yahoos I've known who seemed to be purposefully trying to give hunters a bad name.

Infinite supp
they kill or enslave everything in sight, whether they need it or not. they pray before they do anything. i'm pretty sure the matriarch of the family was never actually named, but merely called "the mother" or "my wife" any time she was relevant, which was not very often. near the end of the book, the family actually shoots a cachalot. they don't use it for anything, but instead axe the head open and take away buckets of spermaceti. a whole fucking sperm whale had to die just because they saw it ...more
I have great memories of Dad reading this to us as kids, it was so hoplessly archaic and ridiculous that his rendition quickly became sarcastic. We all ended up in fits of laughter each time they found ANOTHER useful thing washed up on the beach/growing on the magic island, and/or shot ANOTHER hapless animal/person/moving object that crossed their path.
Wow. What a relief to have that out of the way ... I have been painstakingly pushing my way through this book for a while now. Having said that, I always thought that The Swiss Family Robinson was just the type of story that I would like. Going into it, my expectations were high and I think my enthusiasm barreled me past the first few chapters without so much as a literary bump. But just like trying to race up Everest, you lose steam after the first hundred yard sprint and the rest is pure drudg ...more
Lisa Kay
★★½☆☆ Torture to get through to the end. Talk about Fantasy Island. And they, or their dogs, killed everything they came across. Ugh. Enjoyed the movie more. (Did I just say that?)

New Switzerland

Per Wiki:
But the novel differs in that it is modeled on Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, a genuine adventure story, and presents a geographically impossible array of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants (including the bamboos, cassavas, cinnamon trees, coconut palm trees, fir trees, flax, Myrica cerifera, rice,
*****SPOILER ALERT *****
I've read it now, and it does not measure up to the Disney movie. It was so ridiculous! The boys shoot every animal they see, which range from inhabitants of the African savannah, Australia, and the American northwest -- yes, hippos, rhinos, lions, tigers, kangaroos, bears, elephants, the duck-billed platypus, you name it, they're on the island. The father knows absolutely everything about every plant and animal, and sums up every situation correctly before it happens. He
I've read this a couple times to the boys. As a mom of boys, I loved it. It is fun to read of the ingenious solutions for survival, and I love their constant reliance on and gratitude to God.

And Eric says:

I love the many passages of the book that go something like this...After my wife and children had expressed their ideas, I explained the folly of their reasoning and they rejoiced in my knowledge and wisdom.

Dream on ER.
Stop right now! Before you read this book, I must warn you! The back of the book is a LIE! All of that "they must rely on their wits, the strength that comes from family ties, and the bounty of nature to survive" is all a crock of baloney. Complete fabrication. They're stranded with enough supplies to start a small colony. Guns & timber from the shipwreck I could understand, but butter, livestock, tools, *blacksmith* tools, fishing hooks, needle, thread, extra clothes, enough seeds to start ...more
The enchanting story of a shipwrecked family - a minister, his wife, and four sons, Fritz, Ernest, Francis, and Jack - who are cast up on a desert island, build a wonderful house in a tree, and survive so cleverly and happily apart from the world that they never want to be rescued.

And from the inside back cover:
The author of The Swiss Family Robinson was actually a number of people. Originally, Swiss Army chaplain Johann David Wyss (1743-1818) wrote an adventure story modeled after Daniel Defoe
mark monday
Family: It Does a Body Good.

Family: The Other White Meat?

Family: It's What's for Dinner!
Rachel Terry
Now I understand why there are so many abridged editions of this book. It is repetitive and tedious and is held by such a tenuous thread of a plot that you barely care what's going to happen next.

I have come up with some other titles for this book, just in case marketers would like to advertise from a different angle:

How To:

101 Ways to Skin a Mammal

How to Use Deserted Islands to Make Men of Your Boys


Apes I Have Destroyed

Master's Thesis:

A History of the Magnificent Inventions of One Swiss
I absolutely loved this book, and have read it again and again. I also read it to my family and we all had goosebumps during the passage about the large snake eating the donkey.
Brandy Painter
Wasted potential are the words that most aptly describe this book. A family is shipwrecked and must survive on an island with only each other for support. It should have been a great adventure story. Instead the reader is treated to page after page of monotony. Even the scenes that should have sparked interest were dull and completely lifeless. The characters are obnoxiously perfect. The father knows everything there is to know about everything and accomplishes herculean tasks (like bridge build ...more
This is a book for kids, and my boys really like it a lot.

Many of the negative reviews posted about this book are totally correct. The Swiss Family is a product of its time. They treat the island like their playground, killing and domesticating everything in sight. They mention god a lot. They never name the mother, and she stays in the background cooking and mending things while the father and boys go out adventuring, but in all fairness, none of the characters have real fleshed out personali
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Kizlyk
This book was almost mildly entertaining until it became disgustingly unbearable. In truth I only listened to half of the book. I decided to listen to it based on fond memories of the tv show from when I was a child, but It was honestly a complete waste of 4 hours of my life... even though I was working...
The writing of this book is completely lost to the ages and changes in societal beliefs

Enter this father that seems to know every little thing about surviving in the wilderness, so much so that
Joceline Foley
I feel a tiny bit terrible giving a classic novel only one star, but this book is a tiny bit terrible itself, so I think it all evens out.

This book lacks two integral elements of a novel: plot and characters. All six members of the family are apparently robots who exist only to shoot animals unnecessarily, do everything perfectly the first time, and speak like a bunch of old-fashioned Christian computers. Also, Mr. Robinson (did he have a first name? I never caught one) berates his children for
Jack Wang
Feb 08, 2008 Jack Wang rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who just love a warm story for entertainment
Recommended to Jack by: I did
It was awsome like a family of Robinson Crusoes shipwrecked and living on an unknown Island But wait there is more they might not be they only human inhabidance on the island. are they friendly are hostile read and find out!
Two Bibliomaniacs
Ugh, what happened to Roberta, coconut bombs, family animal races, and pirate alarms? Seriously, how did they not get incorporated into the novel? Someone get Johann David Wyss on the phone!

Shipwrecked off the cost of a tropical island, the Robinsons must forge an unlikely partnership with nature and circumstance to ensure their survival. They must utilize every bit of their intellect to conquer, build, gather, plant, and tame. Not only does the family survive, but they find a way to thrive, whi
"oh fritz," said I to my young companion " What do you suppose that yellow feathered creature flying yonder is?"

Bang, boom fritz shot the animal (as well as a number of it's companions and a few european black squirrels that were just innocently watching) and where it fell to the ground we examined it.

" Why father! It is the Magestic Big Bird of the Seseame Street that I have read about. It is known in that part of the Neighborhood that children will congregate around it as it sings learning son
Patty Jansen
I love the good classics. For example we have all books in the Anne of Green Gables series. They are obviously written in a different time and in a style that was common then: lots of description and day-to-day happenings without a strong plot. But these books give a beautiful and interesting flavour of times past.

This book, however... I completely fail to understand why this ever became a classic.

It starts well, but soon the book gets bogged in chapter after chapter of problems too easily solve
I read the book and then immediately watched the movie. SOMEHOW, I managed to go all of these years without doing either! The book and the movie are not as alike as I expected. Or much at all, really. When I first started reading I thought, "Really? The father knows EVERYTHING about each living creature's diet, motivation and culinary uses?" Then I adjusted to the fact that each member of the family seemed to be a walking encyclopedia and was left to believe that TV and technology MUST have dumb ...more
Okay, most of my problems with this book stem from the fact the I am a 21st century woman, and this is not a 21st century book.

Usually I can read all historical fiction with aplomb and fascination, but this book annoyed the heck out of me. The couple and their 4 sons are stranded on an island somewhere in the southern hemisphere (somewhere with both kangaroos, penguins, and ocelots) but their answer to everything is to shoot it. At times they were wanting something for food, but as their ship (w
Thom Swennes
God (and a pretentious author) will provide! The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss is a story I have known all my life but I never actually read. I suppose it is one of those things that unintentionally fall between the cracks. Shortly after starting it I came to the realization that it would be a struggle to actually complete it. I am nothing if not tenacious and refused to be defeated by this (in my opinion) overrated novel. I find it a cross between The Waltons and MacGyver. I found ...more
Pretty much all the criticisms of this book that I have seen in other people's reviews are true. It doesn't have a plot. The people are pretty much perfect, they never have any doubts or fears or anger or unpleasantness. Pretty much every single animal they meet they kill, and several times near the beginning of the book they end up taking away babies because they shot the mother. There is very little reason for a lot of the killing other than just to kill one of that animal as some kind of acco ...more
This is the ultimate survival classic story in every way possible. Written from the perspective of the father, it chronicles the first-hand account of the shipwreck and survival of a Swiss family of six (the pastor, his wife, their sons: Fritz, Jack, Ernest, Franz) on a remote island somewhere near New Guinea.

The family consists of a Swiss pastor who is a walking encyclopedia on agricultural practices from around the world; his wife who excels in equal measure with culinary skills, and four ener
Joy C.
A reread for my English Course, it was a pleasant breeze to come back to this classic - the story of The Robinson Family and how they survive and thrive alone on a deserted island is written in chronicle second person prose that lends a semi botanical/survival tang to the adventure-exploring tale of Mr. Robinson, his wife and four sons: Fritz, Ernest, Jack and Franz. I appreciated the Godly influence brought out in the tale and while not quite as 'Christian' as say Robinson Crusoe, the worldview ...more
I was fully prepared to love this book. I loved the movie and thought it would be so fun to read. Unfortunately although the story is good, the writing is not. In big part it is a sermon on how children should behave (no joking, no fighting, no playing). Then there is the fact that no matter what they may want of need, the Dad does it. Not only does he recognize every plant, but also every animal they come into contact with. On top of that, they were able to salvage a million things from the shi ...more
"Bite Family Suckinson" is more like it. From that class of novels where the lasting contribution to society is not the work itself, but the iconic stuff it left for other media.

Maybe that's too rough. There are two four five main problems with the book.

1) The narrator is the dad of the family, and he's a sanctimonious git. Nobody can bring home a lobster without him rebuking them for being proud and 'deceiving' because the damned lobster was a surprise.

2) The structure of the narrative. One ch
Lyd Stew
I have to admit that Disney did a decent job on this one-- taking the best bits and pieces. I loved the first quarter of this book and the rest was so slow and tedious. I love survival books and the premises is so neat- I love the way they turn to God and are so optimistic about their circumstances, and how clever they are at improving their plight; however, the the father knows EVERYTHING! (Unrealistically so.) And gives way to much detail about every little thing. It struggled to hold my inter ...more
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Happily Ever Afte...: Quarterly Classic Group Read: The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss (2nd Q Dates: April - June, 2014) 60 54 Jun 29, 2014 05:52PM  
A Review 4 22 Feb 01, 2014 03:30PM  
I love this book! 3 19 Jan 15, 2014 04:32PM  
Good family read! 9 41 Nov 19, 2013 12:13PM  
Reading the Classics: The Swiss Family Robinsom 1 34 Sep 01, 2013 04:05PM  
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From Christian Classics Library

Wyss is best remembered for his book The Swiss Family Robinson. A pastor with four sons, it is said that he was inspired by Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, but wanted to write a story in from which his own children would learn, as the father in the story taught important lessons to his children. The Swiss Family Robinsonwas first published in 1812 and translated into Englis
More about Johann David Wyss...
Companion Library: The Swiss Family Robinson / Robinson Crusoe Šveices robinsonu ģimene & Jūras vilcēns (Sprīdīša bibliotēka #14) Swiss Family Robinson Swiss Family Robinson & Willis the Pilot Willis the pilot a sequel to The Swiss family Robinson or Adventures of an emigrant family wrecke

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“It was one of those happy days that God grants us sometimes on earth to give us an idea of the bliss of heaven.” 5 likes
“I shall be satisfied if young people who read this record of our lives and adventures should learn from it how admirably suited is the peaceful, industrious life of a cheerful and united family to the formation of strong, pure, and manly character.” 4 likes
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