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I was at an estate sale today and picked up a copy of The Bounty Trilogy - Wyeth Edition by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall for $1. It was originally printed 1932 and this copy was printed by the Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers with permission of the Little, Brown and Company, 1945. It has some nice color illustrations and the book consist of the stories of the Mutiny On The Bounty, Men Against the Sea and Pitcairn's Island. The inside cover contains a map of the route taken by the Bounty's Launch and the back inside cover a map of the Bounty's route. This should make for a good read.

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I read thi trilogy as a boy many years ago. The main thing I have taken from it is that,although he may well have been somewhat difficult,Bligh was avery competent seaman. Only a consumate sea officer and leader could have accomplished what he did. If I found myself voyaging to the largely unknown side of the planet, I would choose Captain Bligh to lead the expedition.

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  • 3 months later...

also read the trilogy.  men against the sea is taken from bligh's log.  he was a lieutenant when he was in command of the bounty.  the only person given command that was not a captain.  he was chosen because he was captain cook's cartographer on cook's previous voyages.  the charts he made in the launch were not surpassed in accuracy until there were satelites in space.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I, too, read Nordhoff/Hall's trilogy in high school some 50 years ago. Bligh came across as a villain, though one had to acknowledge he was a consummate navigator. Christian was the beleaguered-but-competent first officer who finally had had enough.


But then I recently read Bligh's journals that covered the Tahiti voyage, the mutiny, and the return to safety, which are available from various sources on the web as well as distilled versions in paperback. I came away with a totally different opinion of the man. According to these sources, he detested corporal punishment, and if anything was too lenient with his crew. The narrative pertaining to Christian in Bligh's words paints a disturbed, insolent, and insubordinate individual who chafed under any kind of discipline. Yet Bligh repeatedly gave him the benefit of the doubt and overlooked punishable offenses (and this may have given Christian the courage to go through with the mutiny).


One could suggest that Bligh wrote his journals to favor his viewpoint and prejudice the crew's, but that hypothesis doesn't really ring true. Bligh is detailed in all of his entries, and at the time he made the earlier ones, he had no clue a mutiny would occur later. His attempts to maintain discipline and his concern for the welfare of the crew are remarkable. Ventilating the 'tweendecks, collecting rainwater as often as possible so the crew can wash their clothes, and having the cook provide a variety of prepared meals to keep the crew's spirits up. The journals were hand-written in ink and could hardly be edited later on. Some reviewers believe we have only heavily revised and rewritten versions that tell the narrative Bligh wanted, but if that were the case, he must have had an extraordinary memory, because the details of his narrative fit seamlessly together.


So, as is always the case, it's best to acquire your information on historical figures from a variety of sources in order to arrive at a balanced opinion.



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