Mutiny on Board HMS Bountyby William Bligh
Released October 14th 2014
Published by Adlard Coles
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William Bligh, a captain in the British Navy, sailed on the 23rd of December, 1787, to Otaheite (now Tahiti) for breadfruit plants. After waiting for the breadfruit plants to mature, the Bounty left for the West Indies, never to arrive. On the momentous morning of 28th of April, 1789, Fletcher Christian, Sailing Master, lead the mutiny. After being put adrift with other crew members, William returned safely to England and wrote an account of the mutiny and the trip back. Fletcher’s brother, Edward, wrote an Appendix, which gives a thorough report of the proceedings leading up to the mutiny. Edward defends his brother by citing evidence that William Bligh verbally abused Fletcher and was irrational, hypocritical, and overly cruel in disciplining his men, among other things. Edward gives as proof many events told to him by other crew members of the Bounty. William Bligh responds in his ‘Answer to the Appendix’, to which Edward gives ‘A Short Reply’.
“As an addition to our dinner of bread and water, I served to each person six oysters.”
I would have enjoyed Mutiny on Board HMS Bounty completely if it had more about the mutiny. Unfortunately, Bligh writes a very brief account of the morning of the mutiny, then proceeds to give a detailed account of how he survived and got back to land. This takes about 89 of the total 168 pages. It is very dry, and not very interesting to someone who does not care or have any desire to learn about the latitude and longitude of every location Bligh ever stopped at or how many breadfruit there were per person. However, Edward Christian’s Appendix is much more interesting. I wish there had been a more conclusive feel to the story, though.