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Jannaway's Mutiny Paperback – 29 Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (29 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595339565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595339563
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,173,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Charles Gidley Wheeler served in the British Royal Navy as a Fleet Air Arm pilot in the Far East and minesweeper captain in the Mediterranean. He is the author of six best selling historical novels, including The Raging of the Sea, which is the sequel to Jannaway?s Mutiny.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 July 2005
Format: Paperback
Some trace the unofficial end of the British Empire to the mass mutiny among sailors of the Royal Navy's Atlantic Fleet at Invergordon, Scotland in September 1931. Struggling to deal with the worsening depression, the government sought to institute cuts across the board (in the public sector as well as the navy). While a 10% cut was a terrible burden for the lowest-paid ratings, those who had joined up before 1925 (and were on a different pay scale) essentially faced a 25% cut. Such a sacrifice would inevitably lead to not only hardship but probable homelessness for the sailors' families, and so the decision was made to organize a mass strike. The mutiny was rather remarkable in its civility, as the mutineers treated officers with deference and continued to carry out essential duties - they basically just prevented their ships from going to sea. The end result was a victory for the strikers, in that those on the old pay rate received only a 10% pay cut like everyone else, but the mutiny had long-lasting repercussions. A month later, Britain abandoned the gold standard, and a name change from the Atlantic Fleet to the Home Fleet a month later began an effort to put the embarrassing incident behind the Royal Navy.
Jannaway's Mutiny is a wonderfully human story that examines some of the causes of the mutiny, but more than anything it is a story of love and loss, class conflict, and contrasting sides of human nature - built around the life and career of a naval officer who finds himself somewhat at the focus of the mutiny. It is not Jannaway's mutiny per se, but he can certainly be seen as one revealing face behind the conflict that played out at Invergordon.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pendrifter on 11 Oct 2008
Format: Hardcover
It is a long time since I have read such a deeply disappointing book. Mr Gidley Wheeler's earlier novel "The Raging of the Sea" was excellent, and I was looking forward to a similarly well-written book. What I found, in the opening chapters, was something written in the same style as the earlier book but transported, mutatis mutandis, to a previous era in which the main character was the father of the hero of The Raging of the Sea.

It doesn't work. The whole thing feels utterly contrived and shallow, an impression not relieved by the fact that the author's main characters - in both books - all seem to inhabit a tiny incestuous bubble in which all their individual lives are inextricably entwined. I found this irritating in the extreme. Frank Jannaway - the hero - is intimately linked with Sir Jervis Yarrow and his offspring: Roddy (under whom Frank serves at the time of the Mutiny), and Anita with whom Jannaway falls in love and then loses (when she discovers a Dreadful Secret) and who in later years becomes the mother of Peter Lasbury, Jannaway's son Steven's antagonist in The Raging of the Sea. "Uncle Vernon" turns out to be a Braddle (in The Raging of the Sea Steven Jannaway married another of the clan, Julietta Braddle, with whose brother Peter Lasbury had a homosexual encounter), and I have a horrible suspicion that Clara Gosthwaite, the daughter of the naval family with whom Anita lodges during her exile in Malta, is the Clara Braddle (Julietta's mother) of the earlier book. Just for good measure, several of the names of other naval characters from The Raging of the Sea - Arborfield, Courteney, Whettingsteel - crop up here with irritating regularity.
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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful! 8 Aug 2005
By Jeffrey Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There was a time, a lengthy period of time stretching over the course of several centuries, when the British Navy ruled the world's oceans. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Trafalgar--these events and others resulted in the supremacy of Britain on the high seas. Any nation that dared challenge the British Empire knew full well that they would need a plan to counter their formidable naval forces. Surprisingly, the blow that hampered Britain's oceanic supremacy the most did not occur at the hands of foreign belligerents during wartime. It was the worldwide depression of the 1930s coupled with a small mutiny of sailors at a place called Invergordon that did the trick. Only roughly a thousand sailors mutinied, and even then the process was exceedingly peaceful. The point of contention involved wages, i.e. the reduction of pay for sailors due to tough economic times at home. This incident deeply frightened English politicians, forced the country to abandon the gold standard shortly thereafter, and demoralized a nation that had always held great pride in its control of the world's waterways. Changing the name of the fleet from "Atlantic" to "Home" also signaled an ominous change in the country's naval supremacy.

"Jannaway's Mutiny," an exciting piece of historical fiction from Charles Gidley Wheeler, uses the Invergordon incident as a plot point. It is not, however, the most significant feature of the book. In fact, the mutiny plays only a small part near the conclusion, after we've spent an enormous amount of time learning about the three central characters, of whom two play a small part in the mutiny. These three characters are Frank Jannaway, Anita Yarrow, and her brother Roddy. Frank, when we first meet him, is a decent young chap. He's smart and loyal to his mother, but doesn't have the opportunities afforded members of the British middle and upper classes. That all changes when Frank's mother takes a job with Jervis Yarrow, a crusty old naval officer of some repute who recognizes the young man's abilities and offers to underwrite his education. Roddy Yarrow presents a significant counterpoint to Frank Jannaway. Jervis's son is a scoundrel who coasts through life by lying, cheating, and stealing. Later on he'll do a few things that are much, much worse. His half-sister Anita falls in between these two figures. She develops a crush on young Frank when she's only a child, a crush that has disastrous consequences for all involved.

We watch as Rodney, in an attempt to live up to his father's extremely high expectations, joins the Navy and fails miserably at nearly everything he attempts. Nonetheless, his connections eventually allow him to take charge of his own vessel. We watch as a scandal in the Yarrow household forces Frank to abandon his education and enlist in the Navy as a lowly sailor. Anita Yarrow, who obviously doesn't join the Navy, remains at home to become entangled in post-World War I society. As a "Bright Young Thing," she marries a complete jerk only to leave him shortly thereafter, head to Malta in a family imposed exile, and reconnect with the now dashing and newly minted officer Frank Jannaway. Their romance is exhilarating and headed towards marriage, but a vile secret about Frank's origins emerges that permanently puts the kibosh on this proposed union. Further bad news arises when the Navy assigns Frank to Roddy Yarrow's vessel. Roddy uses a horrific incident aboard the vessel to launch a vendetta against his life long enemy, but Frank redeems himself when the fleet docks at Invergordon. The fact that the sailors like and respect Jannaway helps make the mutiny a success without resorting to violence so common to most strikes of the time.

"Jannaway's Mutiny" works for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the intricate detail Wheeler gives to each of these three characters. The story spans some 100 years, from 1895 to an interview conducted with an extremely elderly Anita Yarrow in 1995. That's an enormous amount of time to cover, an enormous amount of time in which to show convincing character development, but the book accomplishes this feat quite well. Romance, the clash of social classes, warfare, and death--the characters have a lot to deal with in the course of the narrative, and they deal with the trials and tribulations in convincing ways. Just as convincing is the minutiae concerning life in the Navy. I'm a first class landlubber who can barely differentiate between fore and aft, but the amount of details included in this book about the ins and outs of life on a ship sure seem authentic. The back cover of the book tells us that the author served in the British Royal Navy as a pilot and a minesweeper, and I believe it. The wealth of detail gives the book a genuine realism missing in other books I've read about life on the high seas.

I have only one minor quibble with the book. The wealth of detail I praised above, while giving the reader a real sense of "being there," does occasionally present a problem. I know next to nothing about ships, so I couldn't always follow along with total ease when the author launched into extended passages loaded with naval jargon. I never felt lost anywhere in the story, but I think an appendix listing terms and definitions might have helped me get through these passages with a bit more ease. This problem aside, I think "Jannaway's Mutiny" is a fabulous book that should probably find wider distribution through a big publishing house. Fans of historical fiction in general and military fiction in particular should definitely give this one a once through.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A masterful work of historical fiction 6 July 2005
By Daniel Jolley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Some trace the unofficial end of the British Empire to the mass mutiny among sailors of the Royal Navy's Atlantic Fleet at Invergordon, Scotland in September 1931. Struggling to deal with the worsening depression, the government sought to institute cuts across the board (in the public sector as well as the navy). While a 10% cut was a terrible burden for the lowest-paid ratings, those who had joined up before 1925 (and were on a different pay scale) essentially faced a 25% cut. Such a sacrifice would inevitably lead to not only hardship but probable homelessness for the sailors' families, and so the decision was made to organize a mass strike. The mutiny was rather remarkable in its civility, as the mutineers treated officers with deference and continued to carry out essential duties - they basically just prevented their ships from going to sea. The end result was a victory for the strikers, in that those on the old pay rate received only a 10% pay cut like everyone else, but the mutiny had long-lasting repercussions. A month later, Britain abandoned the gold standard, and a name change from the Atlantic Fleet to the Home Fleet a month later began an effort to put the embarrassing incident behind the Royal Navy.

Jannaway's Mutiny is a wonderfully human story that examines some of the causes of the mutiny, but more than anything it is a story of love and loss, class conflict, and contrasting sides of human nature - built around the life and career of a naval officer who finds himself somewhat at the focus of the mutiny. It is not Jannaway's mutiny per se, but he can certainly be seen as one revealing face behind the conflict that played out at Invergordon. Frank Jannaway was an officer, but he had come up the hard way - from the lower decks, and he had - in fact - been forced to join the Navy in the first place. Living with his mother on the estate of Sir Jervis Yarrow, Frank had been given the opportunity to study at a good school and develop his impressive musical skills - until Yarrow's daughter took an interest in him. Since any kind of relationship between Sir Jervis' daughter and his housekeeper's son simply would not do, Jannaway was quickly hustled into the Navy. Before that, he had already suffered much at the hands of Yarrow's arrogant son Roddy - and on one occasion, he had in fact been molested by the older boy. As luck would have it, Jannaway eventually ended up serving under Captain Yarrow on board the HMS Winchester, where he (like everyone else on board) was bullied and, following one tragedy, wrongly blamed for an incident which took the live of an old schoolmate. The men below liked and respected Jannaway, however, and he learned of the mutiny plans prior to the general strike; while he, as an officer, could take no part in such a display, he did play an integral role in how it came about and how it was handled.

Over the course of this historical novel, we follow the lives of Jannaway, Roddy Yarrow - and Anita Yarrow. Anita's fancy for Jannaway led to his forced entry into the Navy, and she went on to somewhat disgrace her father with a failed marriage to an awful bugger of a man. Exiled to Malta, she is delighted to meet up with Jannaway again, and the two quickly fall in love. It is a love affair that Anita abruptly ends during their engagement period - ostensibly because Jannaway is not of her class but in truth for a very different reason - one she could not possibly tell him. And so it was that Jannaway remained in the Navy and came to serve under Roddy Yarrow at Invergordon.

Frankly, I was surprised at just how engrossing a read this turned out to be. The events of the mutiny itself pale in comparison to the ups and downs of these characters' lives, and the whole story reveals a great deal about class consciousness and society in early-20th century England. Charles Gidley Wheeler has really given us a fabulous work of historical fiction here, and I give Jannaway's Mutiny nothing less than my highest recommendation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
END OF EMPIRE 24 Aug 2005
By Orrin C. Judd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As is the mysterious way of such things, I happened to have stumbled upon the outstanding old British spy series, The Sandbaggers, at Netflix when this book came over the transom. The author, Charles Gidley Wheeler, coincidentally wrote a later episode in the series, My Name is Anna Wiseman, one that was less brutal and mercenary than the typical entry but betrayed a deep moral seriousness at a time when such was not fashionable in the West (it was shown on June 30, 1980). Mr. Wheeler -- like the creator of The Sandbaggers, Ian Mackintosh -- is a former officer in the Royal Navy and in this novel he builds his story towards what was, paradoxically, both one of the pivotal moments in the decline of British global power and a little remembered event: the mass mutiny of the Atlantic Fleet at Invergordon in September 1931.though the immediate cause of the mutiny was a Depression era pay cut, Mr. Wheeler shows that the men had many other grievances that had built up over the years until such unrest was almost inevitable.

The novel provides perspective on the Navy and these events through the characters of Frank Jannaway, a servant's son in the household of retired naval officer Jervis Yarrow, whose son, Roddy, brutalizes Frank and whose daughter, Anita, is infatuated with him. Jannaway is a bright boy and shows promise on the piano, so Mr. Yarrow undertakes to pay for his schooling. Roddy is a conniving and thoroughly rotten young man who eventually uses Anita's indiscretions to get Frank thrown out of school and the house and into the Navy as an enlisted man. Meanwhile, Roddy's father gets him out of one scrape after another and advances him far beyond his abilities as a Naval officer. Frank and Anita are reunited years later and begin a love affair that is fated to end tragically, but not as tragically as the reunion of Frank and Roddy aboard HMS Winchester in 1931.

Mr. Wheeler's tale is very dark, marching from one unpleasantness to the next, and the characters, other than Frank Jannaway himself, are generally rather unlikable. But it's a brisk and quite readable book and the history of the mutiny is fascinating.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A historical novel based on the September 1931 mass mutiny at Invergordon, Scotland 11 Sep 2005
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jannaway's Mutiny is an historical novel based on the September 1931 mass mutiny at Invergordon, Scotland, by sailors of the Royal Navy's Atlantic Fleet. Frank Jannaway is a British sailor who finds himself at the center of the mutiny where the stakes are high -- and the penalties are higher still. Author Charles Gidley Wheeler is a former Royal Navy Pilot and brings a special expertise to creating a vivid and totally engaging story that grips the readers attention from first page to last. Highly recommended reading and a welcome addition to a community library's fiction shelf, Jannaway's Mutiny is a deftly written action/adventure historical novel that will linger in the reader's mind long after the book is placed back upon the shelf.
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