Review Blog

Dec 12 2018

Mutiny on the Bounty by Peter Fitzsimons

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733634116
(Age: Senior students - Adult) Recommended. Mutiny on the Bounty tells the amazing story of strong personalities, intrigue and high adventure in the South Pacific.
Captain William Bligh was appointed to take his ship and crew, to the island paradise, Tahiti, where they were to collect breadfruit for transplanting in the West Indies. After five months of carefree living the crew was reluctant to leave. William Bligh's changed behaviour towards and eventual persecution of his protege, the popular leader, Fletcher Christian, resulted in the crew mutiny and the banishment of Bligh and 18 others to an open boat. In a remarkable feat of navigation and endurance the small boat was navigated to Timor. Meanwhile, Fletcher Christian sailed back to Tahiti. The mutineers were well aware that they would be wanted men. Most remained on Tahiti but Christian and eight compatriots along with Tahitian men and women sailed off in search of a secret hiding place. Eventually they discovered Pitcairn Island, where they proceeded to settle, populate, quarrel and murder.
Peter Fitzsimmonds has based his book (613 pages) on the work of earlier researchers, and detailed quotes from primary sources such as Bligh's logbook. Incidents are flavoured through diary notes converted to conversation and assumed thoughts or motivations discussed during the main developments. The ship and settings are described in detail with drawings, pictures and maps to support the narrative. Suspense is maintained through simultaneous accounts of the actions by both factions in different parts of the world. Some readers might take issue with the accuracy of the accounts of the mayhem on Pitcairn Island. However, the author gives a strong flavour of how events probably occurred. An amazing story that is still gripping over two hundred years later.
Paul Pledger

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