Anne Salmond draws on her unrivalled knowledge of early Polynesian cultures to re-tell the extraordinary story of William Bligh's voyages and the mutiny on the "Bounty." Salmond writes marvelously and brings the Pacific as well as the European protagonists to life, and thus her book situates Bligh in the Pacific more effectively than any previous attempt. "Bligh "reveals not a British history with an exotic setting but a genuinely cross-cultural history that remains thought-provoking to this day. Nicholas Thomas, author of "Cook: The Extraordinary Voyages"
The notorious Captain Bligh and the "Bounty" mutiny have captivated audiences for two centuries. Although one might think that there is nothing new to be learned of Bligh and the" Bounty, " Anne Salmond surprises and engages us with her retelling of this epic tale. Bringing the nuanced perspective of a sensitive ethnographer of both the Polynesians and the British Navy, Salmond traces Bligh's character over the course of his storied and occasionally tragic career, beginning with his role on Captain Cook's famous third voyage. What emerges is a portrait of a complex personality, an Enlightenment gentleman sensitive to Tahitian culture, a commander who cared deeply about his crew and their ship, a loyal husband and father, yet someone prone to fits of temper and sudden rages. With an engaging narrative style, Salmond follows Bligh's voyages and encounters in the South Seas and elsewhere, not neglecting Fletcher Christian, Peter Heywood, and the many others whose lives were forever changed by the "Bounty" affair. Salmond has added another masterpiece to her already brilliant repertoire. Patrick V. Kirch, author of "How Chiefs Became Kings: Divine Kingship and the Rise of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai i"
""Bligh" is not only a splendid reappraisal of the "Bounty"'s misunderstood captain; it is that and much more. Anne Salmond has produced an extraordinary account of Bligh s voyage that simultaneously offers new perspectives on biography, exploration, encounters, and the vast Pacific itself. This is a masterful and engrossing work." David Igler, University of California, Irvine