BOOK REVIEW | Mutiny on the Bounty – A Saga of Survival, Sex, Sedition, Mayhem and Mutiny

By Peter Fitzsimons

If you like reading “novelised” history, you will probably enjoy this book. Your reviewer, however, cannot see the point of embellishing real history. He finds it hard to come to grips with the fact that Peter Fitzsimons is described by his publisher as “Australia’s bestselling non-fiction writer”, when, as the author himself writes, he constructs his work “in the manner of a novel”. Your reviewer finds the expressions contradictory.

Whatever, the author and his research team have put considerable work into this big (600+pages) book, especially so as he says it was completed in a year. That is a remarkable effort given the enormous number of sources cited. No wonder it was a team project.

The Bounty story is well known and very well documented. It is fascinating and, in part, very exciting. This book is, in its own way, a good read but it is difficult to think of it as non-fiction when such a large part of it has openly been made up by its celebrity author. If his celebrity encourages more people to read a form of maritime history, that is probably good but, in this reviewer’s not so humble opinion, real history is incomparably better.

So, it is really a matter of taste. While it is based on considerable historical research and is a good read, the reader should always remember that the story has been “novelised”.

Available from Hachette Australia, Sydney, Australia.


Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.