"On the 28th of April at daybreak the Captain and me were surprised by Mr. Christian, Stewart Young Haywood and the Master at Arms, with 21 people. Christian and the Master at Arms went into Mr. Bligh's Cabin and tied his hands behind him. Two men came into my Cabin, with muskets and Bayonets, told me if I spoke, that I was a dead man and that Mr. Christian had taken the Ship and that they was to put us onshore upon one of the Friendly Isles." - John Fryer, Master on the Bounty
The Mutiny on the Bounty is one of those great stories in history that most people have heard of but few people know much about. In fact, those who think they know what happened are likely to have formed their opinions from what they saw on a movie screen than what they read in a book. Fortunately, the true story itself is every bit as exciting as anything Hollywood could dream up.
In April 1789, the HMS Bounty was conducting operations in the Pacific when about half of the crew put in action a plot to take control of the ship from its captain, William Bligh. Along with Bligh, most of the rest of the crew that remained loyal to him were cast adrift while the Bounty sailed off. The mutineers sailed to Pitcairn Island, and they scattered on that island and in Tahiti before scuttling the Bounty itself, but in the meantime, Bligh and his loyal crew were managing to successfully travel over 3,000 miles and reach the Dutch East Indies. Eventually, Bligh was able to make it back to report the mutiny in 1790, and the Royal Navy sent another ship, the Pandora, to go find and arrest the mutineers. The Pandora eventually nabbed 14 of the mutineers, but as if all of that wasn't enough, it ran aground against the Great Barrier Reef.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors
This true recounting of an incident full of strife, persistence and rebellion should be fascinating. It is not. Instead it is turgid and lifeless. Partly it is the fault of the narrator, whose delivery is irritating and one-dimensional.
But Charles River Editors did a poor job with the material. There is no attempt to build portraits of a few of the main characters, The narrative is jumpy, with big chunks of quotes from text from original sources, which may work fine in scholarly work but lumbers along in heavy seas in audio.
To give the project the benefit of the doubt I went back to the middle after finishing to see if improved on a second hearing, but gave up exasperated.
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