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Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny Paperback – May 27, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Dash's first job, for which he was thoroughly unqualified, was compiling about a quarter of the entries for Harrap's Dictionary of Business and Finance (1988), a volume that he researched via clandestine meetings in a London Spud-U-Like with a college friend who had gone into banking. From there, he began a six-year career in journalism book-ended by stints as a gossip columnist for Fashion Weekly and a section editor at UK Press Gazette, the journalists' newspaper.
While still at UKPG, Dash took a phone call from John Brown, the maverick publisher of Viz, who asked him to suggest the names of some possible magazine publishers with an editorial background and some knowledge of the newstrade, Unsurprisingly nominating himself, Dash found himself hired to take over the eccentric portfolio of Viz Comic and Gardens Illustrated.
Dash's first book, The Limit (1995), was published by BBC Books and his second, Borderlands (1997) by Heinemann. He has since written five works of historical non fiction, all of them acclaimed for combining detailed original research with a compelling narrative style.
Having written his first three books while still with John Brown Publishing, Dash has been a full-time writer since 2001. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
'History doesn't get much more readable.'
New York Daily News
'Dash writes with unabashedly cinematic flair, backed by meticulous research.'
New York Times
'Dash captures the reader with narrative based on dogged research, more richly evocative of character and place than any fiction, and so well written he is impossible to put down.'
'An indefatigable researcher with a prodigious descriptive flair.'
'Dash writes the best kind of history: detailed, imaginative storytelling founded on vast knowledge.'
Top Customer Reviews
Like In the Heart of the Sea, this is a book that places one sensational, disturbing event within a much larger, and richer history. Mike Dash's stylish, compelling writing are to be commended, as well. Even the nearly 100 pages of endnotes themselves (which detail Mr. Dash's outstanding research) add a lot to the appreciation of this book.
Take it from a history--and reading--addict: this is one of the best historical narratives to be written in years.
The story of the "Batavia" has been related before: in the year 1628, the flagship vessel of a fleet of Dutch East Indian traders smashed into a previously unknown group of jagged coral islands off the west coast of Australia in the dead of night. While the captain and over-merchant sailed to Indonesia for help, the charismatic under-merchant set himself up as caretaker/dictator of the desperate survivors of the wreck. He turned out to be a 17th-century version of Charles Manson. He not only convinced enough naïve, under-educated, and cowardly sailors to follow him into mutinying against the East India Company, but he managed to order them into gleefully murdering over 100 of their fellow castaways.
Mike Dash's book is undoubtedly the most complete account of the "Batavia" incident written thus far. The bibliographical notes he provides comprise a book in itself. For the first time, he examines the culture and background that produced a monster like Cornelisz, digging into ancient town records in Friesland, Amsterdam, and Haarlem. It's riveting to think that Cornelisz may have been acquainted with the infamous bacchanalian painter Torrentius, who was a neighbor of his in Haarlem.Read more ›
The main character in the tale is Jeronimus Cornelisz, who had newly joined the Dutch East India Company to make his fortune. He was probably brought up as a member of the Anabaptists, a small protestant sect with a history of fanaticism and resistance to worldly governments, based largely on the belief that the Second Coming of Christ was just around the corner. He had also joined a social organization which had dangerous philosophies, and he came to antinomianism, the creed that one can exist in a state of perfection and thereby avoid following any moral law. "All I do, God gave the same into my heart," he explained. He planned a mutiny to take over the ship and become a pirate, but about a month before arriving at the destination Java, it crashed into a coral reef off Australia's western coast. Cornelisz, the highest ranking official left on the islands, took charge with real self assurance, eloquence, and charisma, and hell descended.Read more ›
This book not only gives you the full story of the voyage of the Batavia, its shipwreck, the fate of the survivors and the subsequent fate of the mutineers under Jeronimus Cornelisz. It also offers the reader a complete and compelling picture into the background to this disaster and at the same time it offers interesting stories on all the participants. By the time I was half way through the book I was furious that the mutineers had carried out their terrible deeds. The book had me caught up in the story so much it was like reading about a current disaster in the newspaper. I wanted Cornelisz and his followers to suffer untold pain and misery for their acts.
The story is well told and gripping and the author has done his research well. The author supplies the reader with numerous tidbits of information regarding this period and this never detracts from the story but adds to it. It would have been nice to have some photographs of the Islands concerned to help paint the picture of desolation and even some photos of the recently re-constructed Batavia. Regardless of these very minor criticisms this book is a great historical story and I am sure that anyone who enjoys a good history will love this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will be honest I was expecting alot more out of this book. the first quarter of the book deals with the back-story of the main characters involved. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Jake
A story of will power to survive and the horrible results of abusing powerPublished 16 days ago by john fitzgerald
This is my first book by Dash, but it won't be my last. Dash is known for illuminating unusual or little known bits of history and this book does just that, bringing to life a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by andrew review