The Bounty

The Bounty

The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty

Book - 2003
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More than two centuries have passed since Master's Mate Fletcher Christian mutinied against Lieutenant Bligh on a small, armed transport vessel called Bounty. Why the details of this obscure adventure at the end of the world remain vivid and enthralling is as intriguing as the truth behind the legend. In giving the Bounty mutiny its historical due, Caroline Alexander has chosen to frame her narrative by focusing on the court-martial of the ten mutineers who were captured in Tahiti and brought to justice in England. This fresh perspective wonderfully revivifies the entire saga, and the salty, colorful language of the captured men themselves  conjures the events of that April morning in 1789, when Christian's breakdown impelled every man on a fateful course: Bligh and his loyalists on the historic open boat voyage that revealed him to be one of history's great navigators; Christian on his restless exi≤ and the captured mutineers toward their day in court. As the book unfolds, each figure emerges as a full-blown character caught up in a drama that may well end on the gallows. And as Alexander shows, it was in a desperate fight to escape hanging that one of the accused defendants deliberately spun the mutiny into the myth we know today-of the tyrannical Lieutenant Bligh of the Bounty.   Ultimately, Alexander concludes that the Bounty mutiny was sparked by that most unpredictable, combustible, and human of situations-the chemistry between strong personalities living in close quarters. Her account of the voyage, the trial, and the surprising fates of Bligh, Christian, and the mutineers is an epic of ambition, passion, pride, and duty at the dawn of the Romantic era.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2003.
ISBN: 9780670031337
Characteristics: 491 pages, [40] pages of plates :,illustrations (some color) ;,25 cm.


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Apr 01, 2019

"The Bounty" discusses the aftermath of the mutiny. Many would attribute the cause of the mutiny to a clash of personalities. The author is quite convincing in proving that Lieutenant Bligh was not that demon portrayed in the 1935 Clark Gable film, Mutiny On The Bounty. Lieutenant Bligh had no commissioned officers or a contingent of marines to support his decisions.

I think that the cause of the mutiny was a clash of systems. The 1789 mutiny occurred in the era of slavery, indentured servitude and the press-ganging of seamen. Many of the mutineers had wanted to pursue naval careers but due to a long period of peace, they were fighting for economic survival. They volunteered to serve on The Bounty in lesser roles due to their desperation. Clearly, a "forced labour" system did not work for their economic benefit.

Then The Bounty arrived in a Tahitian paradise where they gathered breadfruit plants for five months. There, they experienced a "tribal sharing" system and they were happy on a continual basis probably for the first time in their lives. A forced labour system cannot compete with a tribal sharing system in paradise.

I would rate "The Bounty" at 4.0 stars for the author's excellent research which provides valuable insight into the mutiny and its aftermath.

SPPL_János Mar 21, 2018

This thoroughly researched account of Lt. William Bligh and the 1789 mutiny aboard the H.M.A.V. Bounty is eminently readable. With extensive use of primary resources, Alexander reveals that contrary to popular memory, Bligh was a fair and light disciplinarian, and that the mutineers were less rebelling against his leadership than they were seduced by Tahitian culture.

Mar 05, 2014

I enjoyed this book of 410 pages about the famous mutiny. Read it if you want to learn the true story of what happened (versus the incomplete and distorted version as presented by the 1962 film starring Marlon Brando). You might find it handy to make a copy of the Ship's Company in order to refer to the names of the 44 sailors on the Bounty other than Lieutenant Bligh and Fletcher Christian. I just wish the chapter ( titled "Portsmouth") were shorter although I understand the need to detail the background of the court-martial judges. I appreciated the follow-up information about the men on the Bounty after the trials ended.

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