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on 3 May 2017
Very good
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on 14 August 2015
Absolutely enthralling read from start to finish , harsh times indeed however the fortitude of human spirit will always,s prevail if one can keep the faith !
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Before reviewing Mutiny on the Bounty, let me observe that it contains scenes of extreme violence against sailors in the form of corporal punishment that will nauseate sensitive readers. The violence in this book exceeds what would earn a movie an R rating. Captain Bligh's name will go down in infamy, and this novel deserves more than its share of the credit for making that be the case.
H.M.S. Bounty was under assignment to go to Tahiti to secure breadfruit trees. It was hoped that these trees would grow well in the West Indies and could become a cheap source of food for slaves working there on the sugar plantations. Breadfruit trees do not have seeds, so had to be transported and transplanted to perform this experiment.
On the way to Tahiti, Captain Bligh turns out to have several weaknesses as a leader. First, he seems to have stolen food from his men in order to increase his personal income. Second, he chose to think the worst of people rather than the best, so he favored the stick over the carrot. Third, he was incautious in his speech and constantly humiliated the men under his command. No one who reads this book would want to have served under Captain Bligh. In fact, many would rename him as Captain Blight.
The weakness of the Bligh characterization is that we are given no comparison to what other British naval captains did at the same time. Was Bligh just a little worse, or twice as worse? I still don't know, and I have read a lot about this era. My impression is that what most of us would condemn was pretty typical except for the stealing from the crew's stores.
The best part of the book contains a look at Tahitian culture during this time, and the psychological experience of being falsely accused of a capital crime. Fans of trials will also enjoy the way that the court martial is portrayed. You are given even detail to appreciate the nuances of what the issues were that the various accused were dealing with.
I found that the book could have used more editing. Much of the novel could have been eliminated with no significant loss to the story. As a result, many modern readers will find that the book is very slow to get started. In a sense, the real appeal of the book begins with the mutiny about a third of the way through the book. In fact, a better structure might have been to have told most of the story of the voyage through flashback interspersed within the trip back to England and the court martial.
The sailing descriptions assume a level of knowledge about masts, sails, and wind that are well beyond my awareness of sailing. The novel would have benefited from either explaining more about these points, or eliminating most of them.
The book's final weakness is that the authors chose to use a fictional character with a unique role and no experience at sea as the narrator, rather than taking on the voice and perspective of one of the actual sailors. That choice caused the story to have a bit of a "fairy tale" quality that reduced its appeal to me.
After you have read and enjoyed this well-known book, think about where your words could wound as much or more than a whipping. Learn to measure those words carefully before you release them. In many cases, you would be better not to say them at all.
Appeal to the best in all you meet!
Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
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on 11 September 2015
I've been rereading and enjoying one of my favourite late childhood/ adolescent books. Told through the eyes of a young midshipman we see the conflict between Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian leading to the mutiny which lead Bligh on his men to take an epic small boat journey to safety. A description of Tahiti in the days when few white men (and probably no white women!) had seen it. Adventure, the sea, an idyllic tropical island and a tender love story and courtroom drama all based on real events. There is sadness in the fate of the mutineers living in exile or hung and the eventual fate of Tahiti with the destruction of the old culture, Recommended to all who love sea stories.
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on 24 January 2016
Such a good book. Couldn't put it down. So easy to read too since it was written over a hundred years ago. Reminded me of treasure island.
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on 8 November 2012
I love this book perfect for my grandson, he loved it and hopefully will read it over and over again
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on 10 June 1997
This novel has recieved much attention over the past fifty years as one of the finest nautical adventure novels in western literature, yet if one gives the work a close reading, even more may be apparent. Nordhoff and Hall's most well known work (the subject of three different motion pictures) begins a trilogy that measures up well to more epic works as well. The enduring story, and concequently myth, of the "Bounty" has only grown in prominence since the 18th century, and this American novel is its finest narration. From Coleridge to London to Michner, many writers have been influenced by the historical tale. Nordhoff and Hall, coming after all but Michner, combined careful research with vivid characterization and dramatic scenery. Despite its popularity, this is a fine novel.
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on 24 February 2017
I have read and 're read this book many times and it still stirs me. A wonderful read. This is the first book of a trilogy, men's against the sea and pitcairn island. Read consecutively they complete and bring alive a remarkable story.
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on 22 February 2011
Fantastic book read it when I was 15...revisiting it and it generates the same emotions! A CLASSIC, a must read before you kick the bucket! Actual book is in very good condition, the cover is a bit tatty and torn.
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on 14 May 2016
An extremely interesting book. Very disturbing in places, also sad, but a very enjoyable book.
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