- Hardcover: 263 pages
- Publisher: McFarland (May 5, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786434716
- ISBN-13: 978-0786434718
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276,340 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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Top Customer Reviews
And Pitcairn Island does not disappoint. Kirk just knows how to tell a tale, and he does this with the same narrative drive he uses in his lectures, and with the same wryness. Describing the fate of the captured mutineers: "Slowly gasping for air, each of the condemned was hoisted up by his neck. It was as good free entertainment as George III's government could provide." (p. 44)
The book reads like a novel, but you never forget that the stories are true, since Kirk documents the events, the characters and their actions in exquisite detail. Kirk had access to many primary documents at the Pitcairn Island Study Center at Pacific Union College, with at least 200 sourced references for this book. His own visit to the island must have given him a real feel for the current scene. The result is that the depth of scholarship and analysis is profound throughout all 250 pages. Just one example: When referring to the prison colony on Norfolk island (to which the Pitcairners moved at one point), Kirk writes, "Victims [prisoners] who fainted from the flogger's blows were allowed to rest for a short time until they had recovered sufficiently to continue to receive the number of lashes promised...it was not uncommon to find survivors with no flesh on their backs." (p. 114). How was Kirk able to dig up such morbid and fascinating details from the early 1800's? Clearly he did his homework.
I'm not usually much of a history buff, but it's hard not to be drawn in by an adventure tale that starts with the violent mutiny on the Bounty, a many-year hideout on an uninhabited remote island with violent mutineers and beautiful Polynesian women, and ends with a controversial rape and sex abuse trial that took place just 4 years ago. Along the way, beneath the seediness and steaminess, Kirk shows us how generations of a small group of isolated islanders survive and die, sometimes prosper, and sometimes wither, under adverse and bizarre conditions that are probably unique on this planet.
Anyone who's looking for a history book that reads like a novel, and certainly anyone planning on taking a cruise through the South Pacific with the idea of visiting Pitcairn Island, should pick up a copy of this book. This is the definitive story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A useful text for those interested in the Bounty 'myth' and the development...Read more