Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Myles Slater on: A Most Irregular Affair
By what seems to have been an odd working of coincidence, in 1963 two books were published on mutinies in the British Navy which took place in 1797. I will describe both events, because some earlier reviewers seem to have been rather unclear about the context of the account of one of them by the popular nautical historian and novelist, Dudley Pope (1925-1997)...
Published on January 19, 2004 by Ian M. Slater

versus
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read especially for a history book.
I liked "The Black Ship" a lot and recommend it to anyone liking the Patrick O'Brian series of novels and stories about British sailing ships. "The Black Ship" is not a novel but rather a history of the mutiny onboard a British war ship that took place in September of 1797. The author based his story on logs, official diaries, Court Martial records...
Published on September 18, 1999


Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Myles Slater on: A Most Irregular Affair, January 19, 2004
By 
Ian M. Slater "aylchanan" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Ship (Paperback)
By what seems to have been an odd working of coincidence, in 1963 two books were published on mutinies in the British Navy which took place in 1797. I will describe both events, because some earlier reviewers seem to have been rather unclear about the context of the account of one of them by the popular nautical historian and novelist, Dudley Pope (1925-1997).

It must be remembered that these mutinies took place during the first round of war with post-Revolutionary France, while Napoleon Bonaparte was just one more ambitious general, and the English upper and middle classes were seriously concerned about home-grown Jacobins chopping off their heads. Both mutinies were causes of concern, at times amounting to hysteria, but for different reasons

James Dugan's "The Great Mutiny," apparently long out of print, was a detailed (although not completely satisfactory) account of the "Great" (very large scale) Mutiny on the ships-of-the-line (three-deckers mounting 74 to 120 guns) at their bases at Spithead and the Nore. Although widely feared (or assumed) by the public and politicians to be an act of sympathy with the French Republic, the real trigger for this generally peaceful refusal to obey orders was simpler. It was fury at the decision to raise the pay of the army (which had known nothing but defeat), and keep that of ordinary seamen (who had been winning battles) where it had been for about a century.

The mutineers, who did have a list of reforms they wanted, insisted on their patriotism, claiming that they would gladly obey orders to fight the French, or any other [provide offensive epithet] foreigners. Xenophobia was, it seems, a remarkably effective antidote to apparent self-interest, despite the efforts of some more radical elements.

It was immediately recognized that the crews of frigates (cruisers, mounting 22 to 44 guns), except for those anchored under the guns of the three-deckers, did NOT join in the mutiny. These seamen had the hope of prize money from captured merchantmen (something available to the main fleet only in the rarest of circumstances), and seemed to have less interest in a comparatively negligible increase in official pay. Frigate captains, at least, must have felt relieved.

In this context, therefore, it was a particular shock when, later in the same year, the crew of the frigate "Hermione" suddenly rose up, killed officers and a hapless midshipman, and took the ship into a foreign port -- not French and Republican, but Spanish and Catholic, which to some traditionalists must have seemed even worse.

This very different, and, in comparison, slightly paradoxical, rebellion at sea was the subject of Pope's 1963 volume, "The Black Ship." The book has been reprinted at intervals over the years, a tribute to, among other things, its literary quality. (Also, I suspect to Pope's continuing production of naval fiction and non-fiction.)

"The Black Ship" explains how the combination of an incompetent and unfeeling captain and Irish nationalism -- not the example of France -- produced a chain of events on "H.M.S. Hermione" which seemed to defy the conventional wisdom of the navy. Pope traces the career of Captain Pigot, the favored scion of a distinguished naval family, and makes it quite clear that hardly anyone else liked him.

Unlike Bligh, who was a superb seaman, Pigot must have inspired both fear and contempt from those serving under him with his shiphandling skills. (Pope gives examples, including Pigot's efforts to blame everyone else.) Again unlike Bligh, Pigot was genuinely malicious, not merely a (catastrophically) poor judge of the feelings of others. Even so, he might have lived out a routine career, or managed to fall victim to the "hazards of the sea" which accounted for most of the Royal Navy's losses in the wars with the French Republic and Empire. (Quite possibly taking a ship and its crew with him....) Why something else happened is the burden of the first part of Pope's history of the miserable affair, and he provides a convincing explanation of just what went wrong.

The responses of His Britannic Majesty's Government and the Royal Navy make up the latter part of the story, which includes legal, political, and diplomatic issues. The recapture of the "Hermione" provides Pope with a chance to display a really good captain in action, in the same waters, with the same regulations and the same problems. The difference is remarkable, and that story, although secondary, is worth the price of the book by itself.

Some readers will probably know that bits and pieces of "The Black Ship" (and the events of the "Great Mutiny") show up in Pope's novels about Lord Ramage, written later in his career (eighteen volumes, 1965-1989), fairly lightly fictionalized. In addition, a renamed double of Captain Pigot makes an offstage appearance in one of Northcote Parkinson's novels of the Napoleonic Wars ("disguised" by a transfer to the Indian Ocean, and a very different resolution to the mutiny).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read especially for a history book., September 18, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Black Ship (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) (Paperback)
I liked "The Black Ship" a lot and recommend it to anyone liking the Patrick O'Brian series of novels and stories about British sailing ships. "The Black Ship" is not a novel but rather a history of the mutiny onboard a British war ship that took place in September of 1797. The author based his story on logs, official diaries, Court Martial records and lots of other historical documents. There was an excellent personality study on the captain for which Pope even consulted with a shrink. That bit of extra really made the account exciting to read and contemplate. Ordinarily such history would be rather dry I think but Dudley Pope writes so well that a story came through.
The novel was almost as good in some ways as the Patrick O'Brian series. There are not the warm evenings of music, conversation and toasted cheese at sea in the South Pacific and such. Reading "The Black Ship" added to my knowledge of the life onboard British war ships of the era and hence added to my enjoyment of O'Brian novels.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story of mutiny, December 28, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Black Ship (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) (Paperback)
A well written historical book that gives great insight into life in the British Navy during the Age of Sail. The mutiny itself is far more violent than the Bounty, and the images evoked linger far afterwards. Dudley Pope is as good a sea writer Ive read, including Forester.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, January 4, 2013
By 
Stargazer (Sierra foothills) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Black Ship (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) (Paperback)
Very detailed and a bit repetitious but a good read if you like naval and seafaring stories. Gives a good insight into the military mindset of a former age.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The bloodiest mutiny in the Royal Navy history., October 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: THE BLACK SHIP (Paperback)
Few years after the infamous Bounty another mutiny, more violent, bloody, and now almost forgotten, shook the world. The Black Ship tells us this sea story about brutality, human nature, and adventure in full detail.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Dudley Dull, January 10, 2002
This review is from: The Black Ship (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) (Paperback)
With Dudley Pope's whole ouvre of 15 Ramage novels, plus a couple of others of his fiction, under my belt I opened The Black Ship with much anticipation of good writing and telling narrative. I was wholly disappointed. His scrupulous reliance on documents made for accuracy I'm sure, but the same story could have been told much more effectively, with no loss of accuracy, in the form of s novel. Pope was an eminent naval historian but he went seriously off base trying to analyze Captain Pigot's personality to explain his cruel and inconsistent discipline, and it just didn't come off with a ring of truth. His "evidence" was sparse and episodic; he had to see Pigot's uncle as more influential on the boy than the father to make even a ghost of a case, and even if Pigot was the worst-ever captain it wasn't by very far: There were other captains, even discussed by Pope but not in context with Pigot, whose discipline overmatched Pigot's arbitrariness.
Having failed to persuade me that Pigot was just a spoiled brat who couldn't stand to be crossed, Pope went on to fail to persuade me that his behavior was the sole cause of the mutiny. The whole naval system of the day -- Pope gives you enough of it to see (for yourself) other contributing causes -- was rotten with injustice and oppression, and the Hermione incident, if the bloodiest, was still only one of a rash of mutinies that came down on the heads of the Admiralty during the Napoleonic War. Which reminds me, I was annoyed and am still puzzled by Pope's persistent refusal to use the name "Napoleon," referring only to "Revolutionary France" where any reasonable person would have said "Bonaparte."
The best chapter in the whole book was the last one, about an unrelated cutting-out of the Hermione (the mutinied ship) long after the events which were the explicit subject of the book. I only hope that Pope's Decision at Trafalgar, which I've also bought but not yet read (I need a breath of fresh fiction!), will prove more interesting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Black Ship (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series)
The Black Ship (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) by Dudley Pope (Paperback - June 15, 1998)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.