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The Black Ship

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Legend has it that Patrick O'Brian's editor paid that author's first manuscript what he considered to be high praise indeed: he compared it to the works of Dudley Pope. The late Pope's naval histories are renowned for the way they share the riveting, evocative character of his novels. This is true of none more than his masterly The Black Ship, a work of nonfiction that rea ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 15th 1998 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Dudley Pope, author of the Ramage series, has written an absorbing history of the most bloody mutiny to occur in the English navy .
His Majesty's frigates during the late 18th century were crammed with men. It was an unusual captain who managed to keep the men reasonably content and safe under such circumstances. The Hermione, a very small ship, carried 170 at the time of her crew's mutiny against Captain Pigot. Even though the normal complement was 220 for such a small warship, that was a lot o
Most history books, when they set out to narrate an episode of the past, also have a thesis they want to argue. In the case of The Black Ship, you might say that Dudley Pope is writing a rebuttal to a letter by Sir Hyde Parker, Commander-in-Chief of the naval operations in the West Indies, who, fearful that revolutionary potential lurked in the minds of sailors, argued that all the men who had been aboard the Hermione at the time of the mutiny should be hanged, even if it could be clearly shown ...more
What a curious book.

Parts of this book read like a novel, but it is non-fiction, all events, down to dialogue, etc. are taken from court martial transcripts, letters or diaries. This makes for a thrilling but also exciting read, not just on mutiny in the Age of Sail, but the book also has a few things to say on hierarchy aboard ship and types of leadership in general.

However, if you are just looking for a narrative about the Hermione mutiny I can understand why this book could be considered over
Francis Kiger
The edition I read is a part of the "Heart of Oak" series published by Henry Holt and Company in New York. It recounts the events leading up to and following the mutiny aboard the HMS Hermione in 1797.
I feel like this could have been an amazing novella-sized non-fictional account, but the author made this a little longer than it should have been.

Also, I was kind of put off by the foreward which accuses the author of putting too much weight into the account of the midshipman, who apparently "played up" the Captain's atrocities. I mean, I appreciate the warning to take it with a grain of salt, but it made me doubt why I was reading the book a'tall.
I'm not sure why I, a land-locked Midwestern mom, should like naval history and fiction so much ... but there it is. This book was full of revealing details about how the British Navy actually functioned, and made me wonder why there weren't MORE mutinies. Very well-written and fascinating subject matter, but also borderline disturbing, the institutionalized mistreatment of human beings.
Steve Goble
An excellent account of the horrid conditions and poor leadership that led to a bloody mutiny aboard H.M.S. Hermione, the various paths taken by the mutineers and the subsequent hanging of many of them, the surrendering of the ship to the Spaniards and the later daring recovery of the ship by the British.
Trevor Lee

I agree with some of the reviews that the book was to long
But there was a great deal to write about, it could have been shortened
Dave Myer
a surprisingly good read for such a thorough historical account…also offers some great commentary on leadership

Slow working but methodical and reliable.
Rick Smith
Excellent. Just excellent.
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Dudley Pope was born in Ashford, Kent.

By concealing his age, Pope joined the Home Guard aged 14 and at age 16 joined the Merchant Navy as a cadet. His ship was torpedoed the next year (1942). Afterwards, he spent two weeks in a lifeboat with the few other survivors.

After he was invalided out of the Merchant Navy, the only obvious sign of the injuries Pope had suffered was a joint missing from on
More about Dudley Pope...
Ramage (The Lord Ramage Novels, #1) Ramage & the Drumbeat (The Lord Ramage Novels, #2) Ramage & the Freebooters (The Lord Ramage Novels, #3) Ramage's Prize (The Lord Ramage Novels, #5) Ramage's Diamond (The Lord Ramage Novels, #7)

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