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The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
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The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  3,338 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
The bestselling author of The Endurance reveals the startling truth behind the legend of the Mutiny on the Bounty -- the most famous sea story of all time. More than two centuries have passed since Fletcher Christian mutinied against Lt. Bligh on a small armed transport vessel called Bounty. Why the details of this obscure adventure at the end of the world remain vivid and ...more
Paperback, 552 pages
Published 2004 by HarperPerennial (first published September 15th 2003)
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Jill Hutchinson
Oct 07, 2014 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-history
This is an amazing book. We are familiar with the story of the Bounty, captained by William Bligh, and the mutiny, headed by Fletcher Christian but the story has morphed over the years into more of a myth. The author attempts to set the record straight but since there are so many factions for and against Bligh and Christian, that it is a matter of sorting through the conflicting stories and deciding on whose side you fall. And with that said, I can say that it is really not possible to place bla ...more
Lorien
Aug 10, 2010 Lorien rated it it was ok
I was really excited to continue my obsession with seafaring adventures and open boat journeys. This book, while well researched, gets so bogged down in the details of every person ever connected with any part of the story, that you never get a clear idea of what is going on. Perhaps if you were already familiar with the story of the Bounty (which I am not) and you really want to know extensive details like the biographies of the 12 Sea Captains who sat on the Court Martial of the mutineers, thi ...more
Mikey B.
Dec 04, 2012 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: exploration
What an epic true story! It has all the classic ingredients – conflict, romance, exploration of strange lands and survival in dire circumstances.

The true hero is Bligh. Ms Alexander brings out all the historical revisionism that has occurred since that era. We tend to look at these ships’ Captains (Bligh was actually a Lieutenant) as tyrants. Indeed they were – but in the context of the era it was “normal” to insult and lash your sailors – insubordination was simply not tolerated. The ship was n
...more
Terry Bonner
Nov 09, 2012 Terry Bonner rated it it was amazing
" I picked up this book simply for some light bedtime reading and promptly lost a full night's sleep because I couldn't put it down. Alexander's painstakingly reconstructed narrative of the iconic mutiny is absolutely spellbinding.

One has to admire the stamina of any historian who pours through thousands of pages of two-hundred year old letters, transcripts of courts martial, popular accounts in contemporaneous circulation and standard historical books on the subject. This is an achievement whic
...more
J.S.
Jul 20, 2014 J.S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duty and a pile of coconuts

I was surprised while reading this book that no one I spoke with had ever heard of "the mutiny on the Bounty." In 1789, Lieutenant William Bligh sailed his ship, the Bounty, to the beautiful island of Tahiti. He'd been there before with Captain James Cook, but now his goal wasn't exploration but commerce: he was to obtain breadfruit plants to start plantations in the West Indies. Bligh was a conscientious captain who looked out for the health and welfare of his men, ev
...more
Mom
Aug 31, 2009 Mom rated it liked it
urely this exhaustingly-researched, enthralling and enthusiastically-written tome is the last word on the most famous of all seafaring mutinies, that of shipmate Fletcher Christian and against Lieutenant Bligh on the Bounty. More than 200 years have gone by since the ship left England after dreadful weather kept it harbored for months, on its mission to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. The mutiny in Tahiti left the mutineers scattered about the paradisiacal islands and found ...more
Janellyn51
Apr 05, 2009 Janellyn51 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read in January, 2006
review: The Mutiny on the Bounty has always been one of my top 5 favorite books and I've read socialogical studies about Pitcairns Island and other odd bits and pieces. I suppose of the three films made, The Bounty, the last, is the closest to the actual relationship between Bligh and Christian. I don't know why no one has taken the story on to life on Pitcairn. For some reason it's Pitcairn that's always intrigued me the most. This book, is really interesting, I think. If
...more
Ralph
Oct 27, 2008 Ralph rated it liked it
“All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself” ~Martin Luther

Warning: the following review contains historical facts that may be considered spoilers if you desire to read this book without previous knowledge of the events.

I love to read books about people and events that I know little to nothing about. I had certainly heard of Captain Bligh and the Mutiny on the Bounty, but that was the extent of my knowledge.
...more
Andrew
Aug 09, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Bounty is a truly amazing work of scholarhip; Ms. Alexander seems to have read every scrap of information regarding the mutiny and the subsequent lives of all persons involved. She lays out the problems with the voyage, the petty dictates of a class conscious society, the trials of men at sea with nowhere to go to get away from those they dislike, and how the trivial becomes paramount due to this closeness. For all these reasons, the book should have five stars.

But...

After all the scholars
...more
Carol
Nov 21, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
My husband and I decided to listen to Caroline Alexander’s The Bounty after listening to Bligh’s daily log account of the infamous Mutiny on The H.M.S. Bounty. We were hoping to clear up some questions we had regarding Bligh and his character. If you’ve ever watched any of the movies that depict the mutiny, you can’t help but come away with a bad taste in your mouth for Bligh. He is portrayed as the villain and Fletcher Christian appears to be justified in his rebellion.

Alexander’s book goes in
...more
Jared Della Rocca
I don't enjoy sailing. My interest in history generally begins with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and proceeds forward. And yet, I have now read not one, but TWO books dealing with 18th-century British sailors (Captains Cook and Bligh). The book on Cook was a travel novel, taking the reader along the path of Captain Cook in both the historical and current sense. But The Bounty deals from a purely historical perspective, interweaving sailors' journals, letters, and even court martial transcripts to p ...more
Caroline
Dec 24, 2011 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british-history
Like most people, I'd heard of the story of the mutiny on the i>Bounty, of Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian, and the colony on the Pitcairn Islands - but I never knew very much more. This was a wonderful read; I honestly could not put it down; and I felt I learned much more than just about the mutiny itself, about Tahiti, and navigation, and the history of the British Navy.

I'd always assumed that Bligh was a tyrant and Christian somewhat justified in rebelling against him, but the real st
...more
Jennifer
Nov 07, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
My husband and I listened to this book on our drive to and from Massachusetts. We both really enjoyed it, though I think it would be an easier book to read rather than to listen to.

For listening, the narrator was very good and fit the story. There were a couple times when it sounded like a completely different narrator started reading, but then the voice would evolve back to the one we were familiar with. That was very strange. Also, the first part of the book isn't chronological, which makes li
...more
Ken
Mar 27, 2011 Ken rated it it was amazing
This is an informative and interesting presentation of Bligh’s mission on the Bounty and the events which followed. The book lends particular focus on how the Haywood and Christian families “spun” the tale after the fact to make the mutineers seem more “noble” and Bligh more “evil”. As far as I can tell, it’s a straight-up, honest and well-researched account of what really happened.

However, it does seem to me that the book spends proportionally too much time on the court martial and Peter Haywoo
...more
Brenda
Sep 21, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not someone who usually enjoys the type of history that lists fact after fact or overwhelms one with dates. I'm a character/narrative junky. This author managed to find the perfect balance between clearly presenting facts and moving the story forward, while at the same time giving a rich, nuanced analysis of the personalities and politics involved in the myth building that happened around the mutiny. And lovely little snippets of dry/wry commentary. I.E., when she noted that Fletcher Christ ...more
Gavin
Feb 04, 2008 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Probably the most famous mutiny of all time. I live in the South Pacific, not too far from Bligh Passage, which obviously is named after the much maligned captain of the Bounty. What Alexander does is depict Bligh as a more humanitarian figure than he is usually depicted, claiming that he was given a bad press. This is probably true.

What I've known for years is that the mutiny occurred because of the Tahitian women. The mutineers loved the sultry Polynesian maidens they spent five months with be
...more
Frederick Bingham
The story of the mutiny on the British ship Bounty near Tahiti in 1789. It is the classic story of Fletcher Christian, Captain Bligh, tropical paradise, breadfruit trees, etc. The story is told in tremendous detail, including discussion of the aftermath and the fates of all the participants in the affair. The story especially focuses on the story of Peter Hayward, an officer and protege of Bligh's who may or may not have participated in the mutiny. Hayward was captured in Tahiti and brought back ...more
Michael Foley
Very well researched and extremely thought provoking. The main issue is that the book opens up more questions than it settles disputes. The part of the book that I found most satisfying was in dealing with the celebrity status that Fletcher attains. When viewing things historically through the framework of the French Revolution, we see the rise of individualism and romanticism take root. Bligh represented the aristocratic age while Fletcher "championed" a new future of adventure. It didn't hurt ...more
Eddie McCreary
Aug 02, 2009 Eddie McCreary rated it liked it
Yet another nautical history book. I've known the general background of the Bounty and seen several Hollywood versions, but have never read an actual book about it.

Not surprising most of what I knew was wrong; Captain Bligh was really Lieutenant Bligh, Mr. Christian was his protege and had they sailed together before, while Bligh not have been the most pleasant of men, he wasn't that bad compare to his contemporaries and was a very skilled navigator. Most important we don't really know what the
...more
Tracie
Jun 27, 2013 Tracie rated it it was ok
This book was great for finding out the "rest of the story" about the mutiny on the ship called The Bounty. I found it a bit slow reading at times though and became bogged down in some of the endless details that were offered. Not sure I would recommend it to anyone unless you are a die hard ship story person. For an abbreviated version if you just want the facts - watch the 1980's movie "The Bounty" starring Mel Gibson. Accurate in it's presentation and it saves you from the boring details.
Chris
Feb 04, 2009 Chris rated it it was ok
The quality of the writing was inconsistent, and Alexander interjected way too much guessing disguised as "analysis."
Walt
May 20, 2008 Walt rated it it was ok
Shelves: bounty
Well-written, but surprisingly inaccurate in several important events.
Paul
Jan 24, 2017 Paul rated it really liked it
This is a ponderous, massively researched account of the mutiny on the Bounty. It might well be subtitled Arrogant White Males. It stars the 33-year-old tyrant, William Bligh, who captains the small, trim ship Bounty into the Pacific to procure breadfruit trees that will make it cheaper to feed black slaves than plantain. Already an ignominious start.

Bligh has gathered a small crew of 40-some teen-age and very young men. He is a martinet. When he says jump, you jump. One of the egregious activit
...more
Elizabeth Hatleli
Apr 07, 2015 Elizabeth Hatleli rated it really liked it

Fascinating book highlighting the importance of archives...


Using diaries, ship’s musters, public and private logs, private correspondence, lieutenants’ certificates, hospital records, invoices, seaman’s wills and the proceedings of the courts martial trial Columbia University trained classics professor and historian Caroline Alexander weaves a fascinating tale of late eighteenth century British naval life and sheds new insight into one of the most famous stories ever told of treachery on the hig

...more
Cheryl Gatling
I recently read a news article about Pitcairn Island, which has a declining population, and is so eager to attract people, that it will give you free land, if you will just go and live there. That made me think that I might like to re-read Mutiny on the Bounty, which I read when I was young, and thoroughly enjoyed as a great adventure story. Then I saw this book at the library, and thought, why not read the history, and get all the facts.

I was glad I did. The facts are that Captain Bligh was not
...more
Jeannette
Feb 24, 2017 Jeannette rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book. We are familiar with the story of the Bounty, captained by William Bligh, and the mutiny, headed by Fletcher Christian but the story has morphed over the years into more of a myth. The author attempts to set the record straight but since there are so many factions for and against Bligh and Christian, that it is a matter of sorting through the conflicting stories and deciding on whose side you fall
Jim Tracy
May 16, 2017 Jim Tracy rated it it was ok
The language bogs down the narrative. The author almost sounds like she's writing 18th century literature and sometimes the numerous passages she uses from British papers at the time cannot be distinguished from her own writing. I suppose if you had a lot of time on your hands, it would be OK. But I did not like it.
Zorro Lopez
May 09, 2017 Zorro Lopez rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Five Stars!!!!! I love this book! I could not put this book down once I started it. Beautifully written. Excellent attention to detail. Fascinating story. I want to learn more about Admiral William Bligh.
Alex Telander
Nov 02, 2007 Alex Telander rated it it was amazing
THE BOUNTY: THE TRUE STORY OF THE MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY BY CAROLINE ALEXANDER: So I finally finished The Bounty which turned out to be a really great book about the mutiny on the Bounty, with Fletcher Christian and Captain Bligh, and much mass. I actually prefer these types of history books that give you so much more information than you could ever expect, like Krakatoa by Simon Winchester. So it wasn't just a book about the mutiny on the Bounty, but also about the lives of each of the crew, wher ...more
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
I expected this book to be excellent simply by virtue of having been written by Caroline Alexander, whose previous work, The Endurance, was outstanding. If you haven't read that one and you are interested in Shackleton, I strongly suggest you find a copy and read it.

The Bounty is another one of those marvelous histories, which although documented (sources for each chapter are given at the end & thus there are no footnote encumbrances), reads likes a novel. I literally could not put this boo
...more
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Caroline Alexander has written for The New Yorker, Granta, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, Outside, and National Geographic. She is the curator of "Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Expedition," an exhibition that opened at the American Museum of Natural History in March 1999. She lives on a farm in New Hampshire.
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