In 1787, William Bligh, commander of the Bounty, sailed under Captain Cook on a voyage to Tahiti to collect plants of the breadfruit tree, with a view to acclimatizing the species to the West Indies. During their six-month stay on the island, his men became completely demoralized and mutinied on the return voyage. But a resentful crew, coupled with ravaging storms and ruthless savages, proved to be merely stages leading up to the anxiety-charged ordeal to come. Bligh, along with eighteen men, was cast adrift in an open boat only twenty-three feet long with a small stock of provisions—and without a chart.
His narrative, deeply personal yet objective, documents the voyage and Bligh’s relationship to his men, thereby exposing the oft debated question of what kind of man he really was.
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