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Batavia's Graveyard

The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny
By: Mike Dash
Narrated by: Guy Bethell
Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It was the autumn of 1628, and the Batavia, the Dutch East India Company's flagship, was loaded with a king's ransom in gold, silver, and gems for her maiden voyage to Java. The Batavia was the pride of the company's fleet, a tangible symbol of the world's richest and most powerful commercial monopoly. She set sail with great fanfare, but the Batavia and her gold would never reach Java, for the company had also sent along a new employee, Jeronimus Corneliszoon, a bankrupt and disgraced man who possessed disarming charisma and dangerously heretical ideas.

With the help of a few disgruntled sailors, Jeronimus soon sparked a mutiny that seemed certain to succeed - but for one unplanned event: In the dark morning hours of June 3, the Batavia smashed through a coral reef and ran aground on a small chain of islands near Australia. The commander of the ship and the skipper evaded the mutineers by escaping in a tiny lifeboat and setting a course for Java to summon help. Nearly all of the passengers survived the wreck and found themselves trapped on a bleak coral island without water, food, or shelter. Leaderless, unarmed, and unaware of Jeronimus' treachery, they were at the mercy of the mutineers.

©2002 Mike Dash (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"In a narrative reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, Dash describes the creeping sadism that sprang from Holland's religious conflicts.... Dash has taken [the Batavia incident] to a new level of grotesque accuracy." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mesmerizing and horrific

I couldn't stop listening to this book once I started, and it has changed my opinion on Historical non-fiction books. time we'll spent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • 11-25-18

The horror... the horror...

This book is like a Saw film, a sick social experiment playing out in a history book. The book starts off pretty slow, explaining all the intricacies of the Dutch East India company the Batavia ship itself. It was slow enough I almost stopped listening. When this book gets going it's like if Charles Manson had a hundred followers all looking for new ways to kill people. It's sickening to know these people are from the same species. It's a good book, but you can't unhear this story once you've heard it.

My thought when I got this book was more along the lines of Mutiny on the Bounty. From the title I thought: oh it must have been a more chaotic mutiny than just putting people into a lifeboat and sailing away. No, this is more like Breaking Bad or watching a cat play with a mouse before eating it. Less about simple 'murders' and more along the lines of 'atrocities'. So... have fun with all that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Perhaps the best book ever

This is definitely among the best books I have ever listened to. It is true, but is much like a novel.; almost unbelievable, but at the same time rich in history and educational. Mike Dash is brilliant; check out his other books too, especially the one about the history of the mafia in the USA.

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Absolutely Horrifying....in a good way

Please note that I will not be going back in time anytime soon to visit and or experience the 17th century Dutch East India Co fleet. These people endured so much without even having to go through what they did in this specific situation. An amazingly horrifying read, highly recommended

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  • BG
  • 04-30-18

Too much filler

I knew the basics of the Batavia story and was excited to read this because I didn't think enough information was known to fill out a long book. I was right. Much of the book has nothing to do with the actual shipwreck and aftermath.