- Hardcover: 263 pages
- Publisher: McFarland (May 5, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786434716
- ISBN-13: 978-0786434718
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,375,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pitcairn Island, the Bounty Mutineers and Their Descendants: A History
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A useful text for those interested in the Bounty 'myth' and the development of Pitcairn and Norfolk culture. An informative text for researchers.
The portion of the book covering up to about 1950 is the best. After that it seems to be as much the story of Pitcairn appropriated by outside romantics as by the islanders themselves. Getting to the island and on it is still a chore, no air travel possible as of the date of publication. The place is supported by selling curios to tourists, by income from stamp and coin issues, rent for the island's internet domain, and the British taxpayer.
The story of the mutiny and of Captain Bligh has inspired many books. This book does an excellent job of telling Bligh's story briefly and objectively. The man appears to have been a wonderful navigator and poor leader. The story of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers' finding the island is an epic, as in Bligh's navigation of the small boat from the mutiny. The Pitcairn story in the 1800s is largely a story of whalers making calls and shipwrecks, with apparently a close call with blackbirders and near-annexation by the French. The population moved to Tahiti, with terrible results, returned home and later moved to Norfolk Island (where a sizable fraction of the current population has Pitcairn genes). There is plenty of material for an aspiring novelist.
The 1900s were also interesting, punctuated by visitors, isolation during both world wars--and also apparently a fairly close call with German and Japanese commerce raiders. The Pitcairn people have been largely Seventh Day Adventists for more than a century, and whatever one may think of the doctrine, it plainly has had much to do with the community surviving as anything else. The story since 1950 is important, and can serve as a case study in how can a small isolated island community survive on the 21st century. The story ends about 2006 or so, and badly needs updating. Climate change won't hit hard in one sense, the island is high enough not to suffer inundations, but the emerging conflicts over the ocean floor and fishing rights may involve Pitcairn (imagine several small islands not far apart and then draw a 200-km circle around each, and you've got substantial ocean territory, under Pitcairnish and probably British claim).