This novel, the second in the "Bounty Trilogy", follows the fortunes of Captain Bligh and loyal crew members after they have been cast adrift in an open boat. Battling against starvation and attacks by savages, they eventually navigate their ill-equipped boat to the safety of the East Indies.
Hardcover, 158 pages
February 6th 2014
by Amereon House
(first published January 1933)
In this, the second installment of the Bounty trilogy, the jettisoned crew of Captain Bligh's 23 foot launch travels 3600 miles from the island of Tofoa to the Dutch colony of Timor. This novel is based on a true story of Captain Bligh's miracle, whereby he saved the lives of 18 of the 19 men who were marooned with him on the little launch to fend for themselves in the vastness of the South Pacific.
Honestly, I enjoyed the "Mutiny on the Bounty" better, but "Mutiny" had it all - adventure, the inIn this, the second installment of the Bounty trilogy, the jettisoned crew of Captain Bligh's 23 foot launch travels 3600 miles from the island of Tofoa to the Dutch colony of Timor. This novel is based on a true story of Captain Bligh's miracle, whereby he saved the lives of 18 of the 19 men who were marooned with him on the little launch to fend for themselves in the vastness of the South Pacific.
Honestly, I enjoyed the "Mutiny on the Bounty" better, but "Mutiny" had it all - adventure, the interaction of cultures, and the legal drama of the mutiny trial. In contrast, "Men against the Sea" is a grinding tale of hardship. The men on this little launch suffered through days of privations, barely enough food to survive, storms, cold, heat, murderous natives and their own arguements and struggles. The Captain Bligh character did a 180 degree turn in this novel. No longer the petty, tyrannical and thieving officer that he was in "Mutiny", in "Men" he is a selfless, courageous and inspirational leader. There were just enough references in "Men" to the mutiny to remind the reader of Bligh's shortcoming, but other than that, you would not know that this is the same man. It is quite interesting.
Although "Men against the Sea" is not as good as "Mutiny on the Bounty", it is a riveting story of survival at sea. I would recommend it to anyone, particularly to anyone who loves a good sea story, and anyone who enjoyed the "Mutiny on the Bounty"....more
Captain Bligh is my hero. I know: you’re likely reading that statement and assuming that I’ve gone off the deep end. Captain Bligh, a hero?! But I’m not alone in saying that.
So says Thomas Ledward, Acting Surgeon of HMS Bounty and the other loyal seamen put off the Bounty by the mutineers, when they took control of the ship on 28 April 1789. While the mutineers had enough scruples not to execute Bligh and those who remained loyal to him, the only alternative they had was to set them adrift in tCaptain Bligh is my hero. I know: you’re likely reading that statement and assuming that I’ve gone off the deep end. Captain Bligh, a hero?! But I’m not alone in saying that.
So says Thomas Ledward, Acting Surgeon of HMS Bounty and the other loyal seamen put off the Bounty by the mutineers, when they took control of the ship on 28 April 1789. While the mutineers had enough scruples not to execute Bligh and those who remained loyal to him, the only alternative they had was to set them adrift in the ship’s launch, designed to hold about a half dozen men for short trips.
Cast away in the middle of the sea, Bligh and those who went with him (18 altogether) in the launch, had little in the way of food or equipment. It was quite unlikely any would survive for long.
For those of you who have read Charles Nordhoff and James Hall’s Mutiny on the Bounty, you already know that Bligh and company did make it to Timor in the Dutch East Indies. Bligh then made it back to England to be part of the trial of those mutineers (and some who did not mutiny) who remained in Tahiti and were picked up there. What Mutiny does not tell is the pretty amazing story of Bligh’s bringing that launch to a place over 3,000 miles from where he and the loyal crewmen were set adrift.
The second novel in Nordhoff and Hall’s Bounty Trilogy, Men Against the Sea, tells that story. With so many factors against him, Bligh shows tremendous seamanship, leadership and sangfroid and gets the launch and its crew to safety. It’s a task judged near impossible, and which earns him the undying respect of his mates on the launch, even those, like the surly carpenter, Purcell, who felt Bligh deserved to lose the Bounty.
Purcell is an interesting character – loyal to his captain, he doesn’t like Bligh much, and only begins to respect him after Bligh challenges him to a fight. Dr. Ledward concludes that it was Bligh alone that made the impossible possible.
Each of the novels in the Bounty Trilogy is told from a particular viewpoint. Mutiny on the Bounty is told from the perspective of young Roger Byam, a midshipman befriended by Fletcher Christian, the mutinous first mate. Byam is not part of the mutiny, but is assumed to be so, and so is put on trial.
Using him as the point of observation, the authors can give us a view of the mutiny from a sympathetic character who did not actually commit treason.
The third book, Pitcairn’s Island, tells the story of those mutineers who traveled to the titular island to hide out (successfully) from the English Navy. The story, told years later by the able seaman Alexander Smith, is not a happy tale. Smith is the only surviving mutineer, and the only one who can tell the whole story of how things went terribly wrong on Pitcairn’s Island.
The second book, Men Against the Sea – in which William Bligh plays such an heroic part – is told by the acting surgeon of the Bounty, Thomas Ledward. By having Ledward tell the story, we are able to view Bligh in a way that would prove impossible had Bligh been the narrator.
Bligh’s log was available to Nordhoff and Hall, who used it in writing the first two novels. But Nordhoff and Hall wisely choose Ledward as the narrator. As the medical officer, he can comment most knowledgably on the physical and mental strains put on the crew. As a sympathetic observer, he can also note Bligh’s calm in the midst of bad weather, and reassuring regularity of habits, as well as notice Bligh’s temper – a characteristic that may have led to the mutiny. Even to the observant doctor, though, Bligh remains somewhat Sphinxlike, a quality fitting in a commander, something that could not be maintained if Bligh were the narrator.
From the Wyeth edition of MenIt is the second book that I find the most compelling and interesting. Having read Mutiny (and seen 2 film versions), I was quite prepared to believe Bligh a monstrous martinet who provoked most of his crew to mutiny.
Years ago, a friend of mine suggested I read Men Against the Sea, and I found it eye-opening. It managed to take a figure who was hated with some justification in the first book, and whom I was quite willing to believe a monster, and made him quite the heroic figure.
In a crisis (and the two months aboard the launch were one crisis after another), Bligh was exactly the kind of commander you wanted – able to remain calm, take decisive action and command respect from friend and foe alike. When they make landfall at Tofoa only a few days after the mutiny, they encounter hostile natives, but manage to escape with only one casualty, Norton, one of the quartermasters.
For much of the remaining voyage – about 3,000 mi. in an open boat – they avoid landing, for they cannot count on friendly natives. Using the knowledge he gained as assistant to Captain Cook, and from various charts that he studied while aboard the Bounty, with only a sextant, a magnifying glass and a piece of wood to mark ship speed, Bligh manages to get the remaining men safely to Timor in the Dutch East Indies.
The scant food and water supply have to be parceled out carefully, something that requires a man used to making tough decisions. Where he had often seemed rather aloof and abrupt with the men upon the Bounty, he is careful to treat his fellow castaways with more consideration, consulting with them when appropriate before taking actions.
And any tough decisions he takes affect him as much as the men. When we think about the fact that Bligh was in his mid-thirties, and that the Bounty was his first command, his achievement is all the more remarkable (and the troubles he had on the Bounty more understandable – check out Caroline Alexander’s The Bounty: the True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty for a more sympathetic treatment of Bligh aboard the Bounty).
And so, I raise my cup of grog high to Bligh and say, “O Captain, my captain!”
though took a little time to finish it but it's fact that captain Bligh is one of the greatest inspirational characters I have ever met while reading books. Awesome classic and yes indeed this is Mr. Captain Bligh has got an awesome personality. The days in sea is the perfect reminder for all , the perfect adventure and struggle.
You couldn't ask for anymore out of this story. You know exactly what you're going to get, but it delivers.
The narration is straightforward and likable, and the perspective seems appropriately representative of the times. I empathized with and admired the men's feelings for the sturdy launch that ferried them along their impossible journey, and felt a sadness once it had to go. I only wish I knew more/could remember some of the many boat and sailing terminology used.
Men Against the Sea is a nice piece of historical fiction, set in 1789, based on the nautical log and personal writings of Captain Bligh chronicling the 3,652 mile voyage 19 men jammed into a 23 foot row-boat. These guys were on the losing side of the whole mutiny on the Bounty thing. I liked Nordhoff and Hall's exhaustive research which produced a book that was both entertaining to read and as factual as possible. After weeks of eating nothing but bread and water these guy's hit the Great BarriMen Against the Sea is a nice piece of historical fiction, set in 1789, based on the nautical log and personal writings of Captain Bligh chronicling the 3,652 mile voyage 19 men jammed into a 23 foot row-boat. These guys were on the losing side of the whole mutiny on the Bounty thing. I liked Nordhoff and Hall's exhaustive research which produced a book that was both entertaining to read and as factual as possible. After weeks of eating nothing but bread and water these guy's hit the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of New Holland (Australia) and go crazy eating clam stew and oysters on the half shell. After reading all of the sufferings of exposure, hunger, having to continuously bail water from the row-boat, and getting chased by hostile South Sea islanders, I was glad that these guys finally got to rest on a beautiful beach and eat some delicious food. ...more
This is volume 2 in the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy. The first book is the best known of the series but this book is a ripping yarn. It tells the tale of the loyal crew members of Captain Bligh who were set adrift by mutineers. They crossed the Pacific in an open boat crossing 3,600 miles of sea. They faced storms, Natives and starvation. A good old fashioned read.
This was the second book of the Bounty Trilogy and I found it very entertaining. It is the story of the Captain and men who were cast off the Bounty in a 23 foot launch and their perils as they crossed 3600 miles of open sea to find a European presence in the Southern Hemisphere. A much better read than I expected.
Fascinating account of an open water journey across the south Pacific. Bligh's crew mutiny and send him off the ship with a small crew of faithfuls. An expert seaman, he demonstrates incredible leadership when he pilots this small rowboat and a handful of men across hundreds of miles of open ocean. Their bravery and resourcefulness are surpassed, in my opinion, only by Earnest Shackelton who made a similar trek under conditions even more trying.
Men Against the Sea is not as good as Mutiny on the Bounty, but how much purchase can you get with 19 men on a 23 foot launch with only 8 inches of freeboard amidships? I seem to be going through a 12 year old boy phase. At any rate, this is a truly amazing and horrifying account of Captain Bligh's heroic sail to safety over 3600 miles of the Pacific Ocean in an open boat. Fascinating, unimaginable, and a true story.
Amazing story (based on historical records) of Captain Bligh's voyage of over 3600 miles with 19 men in a small boat over open sea to reach land after being ousted from the HMS Bounty. Bligh comes across a bit too nice in the book, although he certainly deserves kudos for getting all but one man (who was killed by unfriendly natives on an island on the way) back to safety.
It is nice to be able to follow the mutiny from all the different points of view and also to see what happened to the three different groups involved in this mutiny. This was the second part of the story and I have just finished the third, can't wait to see what happens. This is also a very compelling read due to the hardships the crew has to endure.
A grand retelling of Captain Bligh's remarkable voyage with 19 men in an open boat across 3600 miles of ocean. Regardless of Mr. Bligh's actions which contributed to the mutiny, this trip is nothing less than heroic.
Should be read shortly after Mutiny on the Bounty.
Second book in the Bounty trilogy, this book takes you on the stunning voyage of Bligh and the other members of the Bounty who were mutinied against. Another wonderful look in to human nature. One leaves the book with very conflicted feelings towards Bligh.