Mutiny on the Bounty -- Fiction?

At the request of a good friend I bought Mutiny on the Bounty by Nordhoff and Hall. (Actually I bought the entire Bounty Trilogy in one large book.) I was shoked to find the book was in the fiction section of the book store. I thought it was a mistake but then I looked at the back of the book and “Fiction” was printed on the back as the category. I was always under the impression that this was a true story. What gives?


There was a real mutiny on the Bounty, as you thought.

Perhaps the book was a fictionalisation of the real events?

Mutiny is one of my favorite novels, I must have read it 20 times. The book while based upon the real story is fiction. The protagonist Roger Byam never existed but through his eyes we see all the details of the Bounty story.

The very last lines of the book haunt me to this day:

A chill night breeze came whispering down from the depths of the valley, and suddenly the place was full of ghosts shadows of men alive and dead, my own among them.

For a good short treatment of the career of William Bligh try reading "Bligh:Man of Mutinies " This is a segment of the book Rascals in Paradise , co-authored by James Michener and A. Grove Day. The movies were fictionalized but there was a Bounty mutiny. But Bligh was not the tyrant he was portrayed as. After all, he was the officer, who as a young naval lieutenant, brought home Capt. Cook’s fleet after Cook was killed.

Captain Bligh had bad luck with mutinies, first the Bounty, then later in Australia. He was also a superior seaman, sailing his overloaded jolly boat about 3000 miles to safety after the Bounty mutiny. The events of the Bounty Mutiny are fairly well known, so I’m also surprised to hear that the story is in the “fiction” section.

There is an excellent book called “Mr. Bligh’s bad Language”-it is what the latest (Mel Gibson-Anthony Hopkins) movie is based on-it gives a little more info that the usual slant on the events that unfolded. Also-go to any search engine (a really simple one is Ask Jeeves) and put in HMS Bounty. There is all kinds of information that will tell you what happened to almost everyone involved with this (I consider) really interesting history.

Nordhoff and Hall’s TRilogy (**The Mutiny on the Bounty, Pitcarn’s Island, ** and Men Against the Sea) is fiction becase it is not intended to be sober history, but a story based on true events, even though the people involved are real. There are plenty of examples of such books. War and Peace is in the fiction section, too.

When I was a kid I bought and read The Mutiny on Board H.M.S. Bounty by William Bligh. That is history – written by the chief participant.

My copy of this book is entitled The Bounty, just like the movie (sceenplay by my favorite screewriter, Robert Bolt), but perhaps it was etitled as a movie tie-in.

For some reason, my computer won’t bring up Google at the moment, but I did google “Pitcairn Island” a couple of months ago, and the island has its own tourist website. Runs through a server in New Zealand, IIRC.

Haven’t built that big old Hilton there yet, though.

Actually, the Gibson-Hopkins movie was based on the book Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian ; I don’t recall the author’s name offhand and am not at home to look at it on the shelf, unfortunately. Mr. Bligh’s Bad Language briefly mentions the movie but was written after it came out.

It was a hard life in the Royal Navy 200 years ago. Surprisignly however, the Bounty mutiny probably occurred because William Bligh wasn’t harsh enough.

Bligh was considered a relatively easy-going Captain. And spending several months achored off Tahiti was probably one of the easiest assignments any RN crew ever experienced. So easy in fact, that there was a great deal of bitterness when the Bounty finally departed. At which point Bligh’s reputation hurt him; he didn’t inspire enough fear among his crew to quell the growing dissent. Fletcher Christian (who incidentally had borrowed a substantial sum of money from Bligh) finally organized a mutiny and cast off Bligh and his loyal crewman.

Now Hugh Pigot, on the other hand, there was a true bastard of a Captain. When his crew mutinied and took over the Hermoine, there was no talk of putting him out in a boat. He was hacked to death with cutlasses and his body was thrown overboard.

Ah-I stand corrected. I have read Captian Bligh and Mr. Christian though, and that is good also. I probably read them at the same time and got confused:p

Captain Bligh’s own account of the mutiny and his subsequent journey with eighteen crew in an open 23-foot jollyboat is better than the novels. It was accomplished with no loss of life, and is considered one of the greatest feats of navigation in British naval history. You can find his log entries in book form here *
The Bligh notebook : rough account, Lieutenant Wm. Bligh’s voyage in the Bounty’s launch from the ship to Tofua & from thence to Timor, 28 April to 14 June 1789 : with a draft list of the Bounty mutineers."* It’s expensive, but really exciting stuff.

I bought a used copy from a used book store in Burbank, CA for practically nothing about ten years ago, and then lost it in a move. I had no idea how expensive it would be to replace it (still haven’t done so). It was fascinating reading. If you have access to a large library system you may be able to find a copy there.

Peter Heywood, a Midshipman accused of Mutiny by Bligh achieved flag rank.

Easy to do, as there is a great deal of Bountiana out there.  

Be sure to visit the website for Pitcairn’s Island, if you haven’t yet.