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The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on…
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The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty (2003)

by Caroline Alexander

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Clearly, a meticulously researched book. Unfortunately, I found that the research drove the book rather than the reader's curiosity. Alexander labors over details where evidence can support it, but often this, combined with the structure, only serves to stifle any momentum created. Disappointing. ( )
  kenno82 | Apr 14, 2014 |
In December of 1787, the HMS Bounty, under the leadership of commanding lieutenant William Bligh, set out for the island of Tahiti to obtain breadfruit plants to grow in the West Indies. It was a routine trade mission. But Bligh’s return trip to England was far from routine. On the morning of April 28, 1789, ship’s mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Bligh and took the ship. Bligh and 14 crewmen were placed on a small 23-foot launch and sent to go back home while the mutineers steered towards Tahiti. Without charts or a chronometer, Bligh still made it over 4,000 miles to Australian shores and eventually got home. The story of the infamous mutiny and aftermath are the subject for Caroline Alexander’s The Bounty, a complex and nuanced tale of leadership, loyalty, and love.

While the details about the mutiny are still unclear, the core issue was that many among the crew wanted to stay on Tahiti with those whom they were enamored, and Commander Bligh ordered them back to the ship. The mission was a moderate success—over 1,000 plants had been secured for transport—and the crew had spent a wonderful five months on the island. It was quite possibly the easiest mission there could be. But, several men of the Bounty, including the master’s mate grew attached to local women and didn’t want to leave. Bligh, being a man of dogmatic intensity and fierce devotion to his job, ordered them back or face severe consequences.

Alexander’s history tries to give a less heavy-handed version of the events than previous writers. Bligh is traditionally seen as a taskmaster with no real heart or humanity. Fletcher is the idealized image of every person finding happiness in a far-off land. But, the historical documents at hand tell a slightly different tale. True, there was a mutiny and, true, the men did disobey orders. Bligh was the only real officer on board and had to be the sole administrator of discipline and justice, but the extent to which his orders become tyrannical is up for debate. The author does an interesting job of countermanding previous assumptions and laying out a more balanced view of the story. A lively and entertaining book. ( )
  NielsenGW | Feb 24, 2014 |
A lot. Do not rely on Hollywood for your history.
  phyllis01 | Jun 4, 2011 |
The bounty set sale from England in 1787, on a trip to the far and remote island of Tahiti, tasked with fetching breadfruit plants and bringing them back to the homeland.

Upon reaching Tahiti however, the crew fell in love; not only with the breath-taking tropical paradise that was the island, but with the native women who were renown for their profound beauty and lack of sexual inhibitions, unlike the much more conservative women back home.

Then upon leaving the island on the return trip, disaster struck. Many of the crew found they preferred the island of Tahiti over England, and decided they didn't want to go back, and so there was mutiny - a heinous act punishable by death and a source of irreparable dishonor.

The mutineers restrained Captain Bligh and left him and some of his loyalist in the ship's launch, a tiny boat hardly fit for the vast and angry Pacific ocean, and with barely enough food to last a week or two. Yet despite this, Bligh navigated the launch on a 3,618-nautical-mile voyage that lasted 47 days and returned his men to safety of civilization.

The story of the mutiny on the Bounty is an astounding one, filled with so many things that make a fantastic tale, that it pains me how little I actually knew about it. Fortunately that is no longer the case thanks to Caroline Alexander's exciting and wonderfully informative book. It is abundant in depth and knowledge, and the author does a great job of telling this sea tale in both an entertaining and enlightening way. I really enjoyed it! ( )
12 vote Ape | May 3, 2011 |
I've had this book in my library for years and finally picked it up a month or two ago. I had no idea that I'd be swept into one of the most interesting narrative histories I've ever read.

Alexander has done her research thoroughly and what I find most astounding is just how much source material she had to work with. I'm new to British Naval history and I was amazed that they'd managed to preserve the logs and letters.

What was even more astonishing was that the evidence she compiles for this book paints Bligh in such a contrasting light than the rest of the world knows him. We can all spout what we've 'heard' about the reputation of Captain Bligh, but when the facts are laid bare, the story changes dramatically.

I now find myself defending Captain Bligh at every turn and encouraging people to read this fantastic book. Alexander's writing is clear and supremely interesting. She takes the time to explain the naval lingo and the ramifications of log entries and the actions of the Admiralty.

I ended up feeling sympathy for Bligh and just a bit of rage at how he was mistreated. You may not be swept along as thoroughly as I was, but I doubt you'll be able to look at this epic true story in the same way again. ( )
1 vote CecilyK | Jul 14, 2009 |
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His small vessel pitching in the squally winter sea, a young British naval lieutenant waited restlessly to embark upon the most important and daunting voyage of his still young but highly promising career.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142004693, Paperback)

Surely this exhaustingly-researched, enthralling and enthusiastically-written tome is the last word on the most famous of all seafaring mutinies, that of shipmate Fletcher Christian and against Lieutenant Bligh on the Bounty. More than 200 years have gone by since the ship left England after dreadful weather kept it harbored for months, on its mission to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. The mutiny in Tahiti left the mutineers scattered about the paradisiacal islands and found Bligh and 18 of his loyal crew members set adrift in a 23-foot open boat. Bligh, who'd served as Capt. James Cook's sailing master, fantastically maneuvered the crew on a 48-day, 3,600-mile journey to safety. Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance, is never in over her head even when weaving together densely twisting narratives, or explaining the unwritten rules of the Royal Navy, of the complexities of class and hierarchy that impelled much of what happened aboard the Bounty. The book centers far more on the effort to round up the mutineers than the actual mutiny itself. The book is enlivened by the colorful commentary of the crew members themselves, gleaned from letters and court documents. Alexander does us all the favor of presenting Bligh the way he was understood and received in his day--as a brilliant navigator who, when placed in context, was not a brutal task-master at all. She roots the tyrannical figure we know so well from the movies on the last-ditch efforts of one well-connected crew member to save his own hide from hanging. --Mike McGonigal

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Chronicles the events surrounding the mutiny aboard His Majesty's armed transport Bounty on April 28, 1789, using details from the wills, diaries, and correspondence of figures not directly connected to the events to uncover the true story behind the mutiny.… (more)

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