In 1787, William Bligh, commander of the Bounty, sailed under Captain Cook on a voyage to Tahiti to collect plants of the breadfruit tree, with a view to acclimatizing the species to the West Indies. During their six-month stay on the island, his men became completely demoralized, and on the return voyage mutinied. Yet a resentful crew, coupled with ravaging storms and ruthless savages, proved to be merely stages leading up to the anxiety-charged ordeal to come. Bligh, along with 18 men, was cast adrift in an open boat only 23 feet long, with a small stock of provisions, and without a chart.
His narrative, deeply personal yet objective, documents the voyage and Bligh’s relationships to his men, and thereby exposes the oft debated question of what manner of man he really was.