The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty

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9780006532460: The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty

The bestselling author of The Endurance reveals the startling truth behind the legend of the Mutiny on the Bounty - the most famous sea story of all time.More than two centuries have passed since Fletcher Christian mutinied against Lt. 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. Caroline Alexander focusses on the court martial of the ten mutineers captured in Tahiti and brought to justice in Portsmouth. Each figure emerges as a richly drawn character caught up in a drama that may well end on the gallows. With enormous scholarship and exquisitely drawn characters, The Bounty is a tour de force.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Caroline Alexander was born in Florida, of British parents, and has lived in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. She studied Philosophy and Theology at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and has a doctorate in Classics from Columbia University. She is the author of the bestselling The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition which has been translated into thirteen languages. She writes frequently for The New Yorker and The National Geographic, and she is the author of four other books, including Mr Chippy's Last Expedition, the journal of the Endurance's ship's cat.

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Caroline Alexander
Published by HarperPerennial (2004)
ISBN 10: 0006532462 ISBN 13: 9780006532460
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