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Mutiny on the Bounty (Adventure Classics)

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Entries from the diary of British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh recount the infamous events that took place on the HMS Bounty in 1789. Despite his adventurous career under Captain James Cook and Horatio Nelson, British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh (1754-1817) is now remembered for his harsh treatment of his crew that trigg Entries from the diary of British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh recount the infamous events that took place on the HMS Bounty in 1789. Despite his adventurous career under Captain James Cook and Horatio Nelson, British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh (1754-1817) is now remembered for his harsh treatment of his crew that triggered their mutiny in 1789, an account that is told in Bligh's own words in this volume. The commander and 18 seamen were set adrift in an open boat and came ashore after sailing 3600 miles, a tale that continues to captivate readers even today.


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Entries from the diary of British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh recount the infamous events that took place on the HMS Bounty in 1789. Despite his adventurous career under Captain James Cook and Horatio Nelson, British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh (1754-1817) is now remembered for his harsh treatment of his crew that trigg Entries from the diary of British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh recount the infamous events that took place on the HMS Bounty in 1789. Despite his adventurous career under Captain James Cook and Horatio Nelson, British Royal Navy officer and colonial governor William Bligh (1754-1817) is now remembered for his harsh treatment of his crew that triggered their mutiny in 1789, an account that is told in Bligh's own words in this volume. The commander and 18 seamen were set adrift in an open boat and came ashore after sailing 3600 miles, a tale that continues to captivate readers even today.

30 review for Mutiny on the Bounty (Adventure Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ming Wei

    As this book is written by Bligh, the story is from his point of view, and we all know that there is always two sides to a story, sequenced in the style of a diary, lot of captain logs, lots of descriptions about current ocean conditions that the Mutiny finds itself in (etc etc). It is an adventure, with all the conflicts you expect within a crew, squashed together on a boat for months upon months. (Spending months under each others feet is not good for anybody). The story format does work, it i As this book is written by Bligh, the story is from his point of view, and we all know that there is always two sides to a story, sequenced in the style of a diary, lot of captain logs, lots of descriptions about current ocean conditions that the Mutiny finds itself in (etc etc). It is an adventure, with all the conflicts you expect within a crew, squashed together on a boat for months upon months. (Spending months under each others feet is not good for anybody). The story format does work, it is engaging, it is enjoyable, the story line is one of the most famous adventure stories of them all in my opinion. Good book cover, no editorial errors, the speed of story line is good, maybe sometimes you feel a bit over saturated with constant captains logs etc, but I did enjoy it. Well worth reading. A good book, not amazing, but a good solid book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laurence

    1.5 Stars. The actual mutiny is a surprisingly brief part of the book, and the motivation and characters involved (which I'd have thought is what would make this book) is entirely missing. Naturally the voyage was doomed as soon as they caught (and then fattened up and ate) the albatross. I know my Rime of the Ancient Mariner (thanks Iron Maiden). I wasn't looking for a novel, but this needed to be more than a blow by blow, completely emotionless captains log account of the events. In the right 1.5 Stars. The actual mutiny is a surprisingly brief part of the book, and the motivation and characters involved (which I'd have thought is what would make this book) is entirely missing. Naturally the voyage was doomed as soon as they caught (and then fattened up and ate) the albatross. I know my Rime of the Ancient Mariner (thanks Iron Maiden). I wasn't looking for a novel, but this needed to be more than a blow by blow, completely emotionless captains log account of the events. In the right hands this could be a remarkable true story of adventure and survival.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    It had been a long time since I watched the Hollywood version of Mutiny on the Bounty, not the new one but the old one with a young Clark Gable and Charles Laughton in the lead roles of Mr. Christian and Captain Bligh. I know this movie left with the definite impression that Bligh deserved and caused the mutiny of his crew. So why not give the man a chance to defend his reign as Captain of his ship. First, this is a diary, and as such can get bogged down in daily entries of longitude and latitude It had been a long time since I watched the Hollywood version of Mutiny on the Bounty, not the new one but the old one with a young Clark Gable and Charles Laughton in the lead roles of Mr. Christian and Captain Bligh. I know this movie left with the definite impression that Bligh deserved and caused the mutiny of his crew. So why not give the man a chance to defend his reign as Captain of his ship. First, this is a diary, and as such can get bogged down in daily entries of longitude and latitude, state of the seas, visiting islands, hogs, weather conditions and inventory of supplies/food. Reading Bligh's daily entries gave me quite a different picture of the man than the one portrayed in the movie. I felt he was doing his duty and he truly seemed concerned about his men and their conditions. Discipline is mentioned infrequently. When he and some of his crew is set asail after the Mutiny, Bligh goes beyond the call to keep his men alive. It seems a miracle and a testament to his leadership that they do live. Nowhere can I see the sadistic disciplinarian depicted in the movie. You've got to wonder. Certainly Bligh did not know a movie would be made of his life so which story do you believe. Hollywood or his own words? This accounting of the famous story makes me want more. There are other accounts of what led to the mutiny and somewhere in all of this lies the truth. I hope to read at least one more accounting before making up my mind of what I think might have happened back in 1789.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schnell

    While not as entertaining as any of the movies based on this book, "The Bounty Mutiny" is still an engaging read. From captain's logs to court transcription to a mutineer's journal, the whole story is slowly revealed from every perspective. I wished for more details from Pitcairn Island where some of the mutineers wound up and less details from the court transcript, but when you are dealing with surviving documents you take what you can get. Now I am definitely interested in seeing the movie adap While not as entertaining as any of the movies based on this book, "The Bounty Mutiny" is still an engaging read. From captain's logs to court transcription to a mutineer's journal, the whole story is slowly revealed from every perspective. I wished for more details from Pitcairn Island where some of the mutineers wound up and less details from the court transcript, but when you are dealing with surviving documents you take what you can get. Now I am definitely interested in seeing the movie adaptations again to see what details I'll notice from the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This was another book on my "to read list." I did quite like it. There was one funny thing about the book, in the old Bogart movie, the captain was angry about the loss of his strawberries. In the book it was coconuts. I did enjoy the book. I loved hearing about the Pacific islands and their people and learning about the English navy. I learned to love or hate the people in the book, just as the author intended. I would recommend the book if you have not read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    A fascinating story of betrayal and survival from the man who endured it all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    E Owen

    Was Fletcher Christian an opportunistic coward? Was Lieutenant Bligh a brutist tyrant? We will never know the full story of the Bounty but in consideration of the evidence contained in this book, I conclude that both statements are probably correct. The story of the Bounty is one of the greatest instances of maritime mutiny ever recorded. The fact that so many books and films have been made on the topic is a testimony to our fascination and keeps it in our current consciousness. There are romanti Was Fletcher Christian an opportunistic coward? Was Lieutenant Bligh a brutist tyrant? We will never know the full story of the Bounty but in consideration of the evidence contained in this book, I conclude that both statements are probably correct. The story of the Bounty is one of the greatest instances of maritime mutiny ever recorded. The fact that so many books and films have been made on the topic is a testimony to our fascination and keeps it in our current consciousness. There are romanticised notions of the seductions of the Polynesian peoples (especially the women) on the crew as well as the authoritarian and erratic behaviour of their commander, Lieutenant William Bligh. Both are factors, but have been exaggerated and the documentary evidence shows a more nuanced situation. It seems to me that a large part of the mutiny was a personal “falling out” between Bligh and master’s mate Fletcher Christian which could have been remedied before muskets and cutlasses prevailed. 18th-century notions of “honour” amongst gentleman have been more readily discarded as an explanation in favour of Christian’s preoccupation with what has been described as a “favourite female” of Tahiti. Christian fell into a deep depression and was able to draw on support from a minority of the crew to overthrow the commander of the vessel. The book’s main contents are a reproduction of Bligh’s narritive of the mutiny, as well as the detailed proceeding of the court-martial produced by Edward Christain (Fletcher Christian’s lawyer brother). The rest of the book contains the response and counter-response between Bligh and the brother Christian in a level of petty-pamphlet squabbling which must have been frustrating for both men at the time but proves gripping reading. Sections of alleged dialogue really jump out, such as Christian’s final breakdown: “That-captain Bligh-that is the thing; I am in hell-I am in hell”. On reflection, it was Bligh’s robustness of discipline that kept the adrift men alive to Kupang and Christian’s affability amongst the crew that led the Bounty to Tahiti and Pitcairn. Much of Bligh’s account is his epic 3,500 mile journey in a small ship’s boat exposed to the elements and fleetingly touches the mutiny itself. Edward Christian’s account is thorough and forensic, providing a fascinating insight into the cross-examinations of the crew. In response to this attempt as exoneration of Christian, Bligh as commander of the ship fired back with a detailed wealth of documentary evidence to support his claim of events. Edward Christian replied with open doubt of the nature of Bligh’s obtained affidavits, with an accusation of perjury. It is true to say that Christian was gifted as a seaman and and had sought a prominent position in the Royal Navy. Bligh was very much motivated by his late mentor and hero, Captain James Cook. Christian and Bligh had similar lives too: both men were from distinguished families that had fallen on hard times and had something to prove. The real tragedy for me is that prior to the final voyage of the Bounty Christian and Bligh were friends. Bligh met his wife in the Isle of Man where Christain’s family originated. Indeed it is stated in the introduction that Peter Haywood, George Stewart, Thomas Haywood and John Hallet were friends of the Bligh family. Bligh was exonerated at court-martial but Christian’s fate will never fully be known (suicide? Murder on Pitcairn? Incognito return to England? Probably the second one according to Jenny and John Adams). Further appendices provide information that has been previously dismissed, such as the story of “Jenny” a Tahitian woman who had left Pitcairn (because of course, a non-white woman was far less believable than 40-odd Englishmen, Manxmen, Irishmen, Cornishmen, Scotsmen and a German who contradicted each other). The subsequent result for the mutineers was murder or execution apart from John Adams alias Alexander Smith. Ultimately we will never have a definitive knowledge of what occurred but the accounts of the crew coupled with the subsequent reports help to build up a fuller account of the mutiny. In summary, a surprisingly dense book which shone a light with primary evidence on a romanticised trauma.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Wiswell

    I couldn't resist the urge to pick up the story of one of the most famous mutiny's in human history as told from the perspective of the captain. It is at once a bitter memoir and a microcosm of all of Europe's fears of the abuse of power and the terror of anarchy. An extremely slow read for something that should be so compelling, Bligh's insight into the situation makes it compelling enough to finish if you can power through the extremely dry first chunk.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim Painter

    I had seen the movies and heard about this event, but what I had never heard was the rest of the story where captain Bligh and half his crew are put on a whaling boat and put to sea. Through his amazing skill they made a 3600 mile trip in that small boat to a safe port.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathi Cahoon

    It was a bit of a hard read because it is in the form of a ship's log, but is so interesting!!!! I had also read, "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick so I was already somewhat familiar with the incident and geography.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Fascinating story. I recommend taking the extra time to plot out the voyage on a globe,

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    In 1787, Lieutenant William Bligh set sail from England on the HMS Bounty to Tahiti to procure breadfruit trees to transport to the West Indies, to be used as food for the African slaves there. The Bounty spent five months at Tahiti, where trees, animals, and assorted goods were loaded on the ship in exchange for "trinkets" to the Tahitians. Many of the men developed relationships with Tahitian women, and realizing they'd rather live in Tahiti than go back to England, decided they were going to In 1787, Lieutenant William Bligh set sail from England on the HMS Bounty to Tahiti to procure breadfruit trees to transport to the West Indies, to be used as food for the African slaves there. The Bounty spent five months at Tahiti, where trees, animals, and assorted goods were loaded on the ship in exchange for "trinkets" to the Tahitians. Many of the men developed relationships with Tahitian women, and realizing they'd rather live in Tahiti than go back to England, decided they were going to stay. Bligh was severe in his punishments, particularly against Fletcher Christian, who would spearhead the mutiny. About a month after the Bounty set sail, Christian and men loyal to him took control of the ship in the middle of the night and forced Bligh and 19 of his men on a launch that was meant for only 10 men. Thankfully, Christian left Bligh with navigation equipment and Bligh was able to traverse over 3500 nautical miles to the island of Timor, where he was able to eventually get back to England with 12 of the 19 men who made the journey with them. The book starts slowly, mostly reading like a captain's log, but eventually gets interesting. Chapter 13 is where the action really starts, and one gets a sense of the horrible conditions over those 40 days at sea, with burning sun, torrential downpour, near starvation, and a host of health maladies that made life miserable for Bligh and his men. It was hard to put down! Imagine being so hungry that you literally eat birds raw, bones and all. Imagine becoming so weak that you can barely move, and just when land is in sight, you realize you can't land because the locals will kill you. It was a harrowing journey and definitely engaging. Bligh would eventually become the governor of New South Wales, but was deposed during the Rum Rebellion of 1808. He returned to England where he lived out the remainder of his life. I'd like to read more on Christian and the aftermath of the mutiny and eventual hanging of some of the men - will have to do some additional reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jerimy Stoll

    I enjoyed this book. This is a very dry read that was obviously written by the Captain of the ill-fated voyage through the use of his journal and logs. It is very factual and doesn't really start to get interesting until shortly after the middle. Captain Bligh was a former shipmate of Captain Cook, and Bligh makes reference to Cook several times throughout the book and makes it obvious that he learned a great deal from him. The British Navy of the 1700s was a small navy and Captain Bligh had sai I enjoyed this book. This is a very dry read that was obviously written by the Captain of the ill-fated voyage through the use of his journal and logs. It is very factual and doesn't really start to get interesting until shortly after the middle. Captain Bligh was a former shipmate of Captain Cook, and Bligh makes reference to Cook several times throughout the book and makes it obvious that he learned a great deal from him. The British Navy of the 1700s was a small navy and Captain Bligh had sailed with several members of this crew prior to embarking on this journey. The Mission was to gather breadfruit trees from Tahiti. The mission had its challenges from the start and became more challenging as the book progressed. I can't say too much more without spoiling the book, but I will recommend this book for history buffs, navy enthusiasts, and those who like to lose themselves in non-fiction adventure novels. My warning to you is that it is a slow burn. I wouldn't recommend this book to one who expects it to read like "Treasure Island." A good deal of patience, some nautical understanding, and natural love of history will be all you require to find it an enjoyable read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Olsen

    To be fair, the incessant repetition of latitudes, longitudes, and times of day that permeate almost every page of Bligh's account accurately captures the monotony of 4,000 under-equipped miles at sea. Unfortunately, it also lends monotony to the the tale's recounting. While chapters set on land offer welcome refuge from the doldrums, reaching the end of this book was a challenge. Then again, what right do I have to use the word "challenge" in connection with the reading of a book from the warmt To be fair, the incessant repetition of latitudes, longitudes, and times of day that permeate almost every page of Bligh's account accurately captures the monotony of 4,000 under-equipped miles at sea. Unfortunately, it also lends monotony to the the tale's recounting. While chapters set on land offer welcome refuge from the doldrums, reaching the end of this book was a challenge. Then again, what right do I have to use the word "challenge" in connection with the reading of a book from the warmth of my couch when these resolute, determined souls struggled for weeks on end under the most debilitating conditions. Imagine how they'd laugh at the irrelevance of my complaints. Alas, they stuck in there, through hell and literal high water, and thus I felt obliged to finish the story of these remarkable men.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This is an interesting book that I read as an audiobook while working out at the gym. It is a diary written by Bligh ... as such it is obviously biases. However he seems to be competent captain with real concerns for his crew. I saw none of the tyrannical behavior depicted in the popular movies. I don't know what is the truth but I want to read the Nordhoff and Hall books to get a broader prospective. There is a lot of tedious detail on measured latitudes etc but it is a diary. We recently visite This is an interesting book that I read as an audiobook while working out at the gym. It is a diary written by Bligh ... as such it is obviously biases. However he seems to be competent captain with real concerns for his crew. I saw none of the tyrannical behavior depicted in the popular movies. I don't know what is the truth but I want to read the Nordhoff and Hall books to get a broader prospective. There is a lot of tedious detail on measured latitudes etc but it is a diary. We recently visited Tahiti ... I really enjoyed his description on the islands and culture that he experienced. We visited Venus Point and recalled our experience while reading of Bligh anchoring there. I recommend it as an unusual read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Captain Bligh’s version of events. Surprisingly little is said if the mutiny. Instead, he spends a majority of the account discussing his passage to Tahiti (with lots of coordinates thrown in), his time on the island, and his voyage to Batavia once he and 18 other men were forced off the ship. His version was the first one told to the world, and there are some glaring omissions, most notably his treatment of the crew. But because of his incredible journey in a small, crowded boat across a huge e Captain Bligh’s version of events. Surprisingly little is said if the mutiny. Instead, he spends a majority of the account discussing his passage to Tahiti (with lots of coordinates thrown in), his time on the island, and his voyage to Batavia once he and 18 other men were forced off the ship. His version was the first one told to the world, and there are some glaring omissions, most notably his treatment of the crew. But because of his incredible journey in a small, crowded boat across a huge expanse of sea, he was considered a hero in England. This account’s one-sided view focusing on everything but the crew’s motives for mutinying probably helped form that reputation. Only later after other sides of the story came to light did the world come to view him as a tyrant.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Allen

    The version I read was the narrative of Capt. Bligh's journey back to civilization with a small crew of loyalists after the mutany. This was essentially the logs Bligh compiled during that harrowing voyage, besting cold, rain, difficult seas, starvation, and the sometimes aggressive native peoples of the South Pacific. Very dry and impersonal, this would have been a fantastic read had I been sailing in some of the areas described, seeing and living the lands and seas as the survivors of the muta The version I read was the narrative of Capt. Bligh's journey back to civilization with a small crew of loyalists after the mutany. This was essentially the logs Bligh compiled during that harrowing voyage, besting cold, rain, difficult seas, starvation, and the sometimes aggressive native peoples of the South Pacific. Very dry and impersonal, this would have been a fantastic read had I been sailing in some of the areas described, seeing and living the lands and seas as the survivors of the mutany did.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Miles Smith

    Controversy still rages over whether Bligh was a tyrannical captain or whether Fletcher Christian was an unprincipled mutineer. Bligh's narrative is worth reading for its historical significance, but especially those interested in the golden age of exploration. Bligh's writing is exasperatingly clinical. But this is still a significant work and deserves to be restored to its formerly revered place in British literature.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    An engaging story, giving the reader a matter-of-fact account; this portrays Captain Bligh in a far better light than Hollywood or documentaries have. If Captain Bligh was such a tyrant, as the movie/documentaries would have you believe, why would any sailor choose to go with him? Quite frankly, I tend to believe that Captain Bligh has been much maligned, and was truly an honourable, upstanding man. He got raw deal.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Clark

    "You HAVE to read this book", my sister said. So I started reading it. OMG! So boring. Turns out there are more than one Mutiny on the Bounty. I was supposed to read the Nordhoff/Hall classic. But, being a Bounty virgin, I thought the one by Captajn Bligh would be the classic. So wrong. I guess I'll figure this as background info and out the correct version on my to-read list.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vincent K Martinez

    Interesting historical account. Enjoyable and enlightening read, but also difficult in parts due to all the map and compass positions, understandable though due to it being the log of Captain Bligh. Recommend for anyone who wishes to learn about a harsh incident in naval history and evidence that anything can be accomplished when there is a blatant refusal to not quit.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Christensen

    A bit dry with a lot of nautical measurements. Seems like Captain Bligh was on a very different voyage from every other account of the mutiny on the Bounty. I can respect his point of view but by his words the mutiny was a complete and total surprise and without any justification at all.

  23. 5 out of 5

    MR C

    Not what Hollywood portrayed Interesting account of a famous historical course of events. Particularly interesting is the way in which Bligh portrays himself as a fair captain, but then I guess he would. Lots of mariner jargon but otherwise an enjoyable book

  24. 5 out of 5

    Clint the Cool Guy

    Pretty dry stuff. Interesting from the standpoint of being one of the first survival stories, but the book is not very engaging. Just a dry account of dates and coordinate readings. Also, the kindle formatting was lousy. Not a very good book, in my opinion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dave Harmon

    this is a pretty boring read but worth it to see their treatment of the Tahiti natives which i was surprised to find was must as we would today (kindly and respectfully of other cultures). its possible the bligh was lying but i see no motive for him to lie about it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    it was interesting enough

  27. 4 out of 5

    C.S. Areson

    Not at all what I expected, but actually was glad I read it as it is considered a classic. It also gave an insight into how someone of that age might have keep track of a captain's life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gwenn

    this is William Bligh's log - very informative from his point of view. it is amazing to think that he was able to navigate so far and save his crew

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bill Glover

    This and Moby Dick is what I know about sailing. Sounds dangerous.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    One star is generous.

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