Top positive review
A Gripping Story That Is Both Tragic and Heroic
Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2018
I grew up in St. Pete, Florida, when the HMS Bounty was a permanent attraction moored at the old downtown Pier. I remember taking the tour as a kid, and was heartbroken when I learned of her sinking off the coast of Cape Hatteras during Hurricane Sandy. I purchased this book on Kindle in hopes of reaching some sort of understanding of what happened, and why.
I wanted to give this three and a half stars. It’s a workmanlike piece of writing, telling the story of what happened to the Bounty in fairly complete detail. But it gets confusing in places, largely due to the author’s choice of switching between referring to people by their last names in one section, and first names in another. I frequently found that I had to use the search function to figure out who he was referring to.
I felt that the author missed an opportunity to juxtapose an irony at the heart of the Bounty story - that it was originally meant to be burned to its keel in the final shot of the MGM movie production. But Marlon Brando had grown so fond of the ship that he threatened to quit if the ship was burned. And so the crew devised a mockup for the burning scene.
So, but for Marlon Brando’s obstinance, none of this would have happened.
The author also seems anxious - perhaps a little too anxious for my taste - to rehabilitate Capt. Robin Walbridge, who made the fateful decision to sail Bounty into Hurricane Sandy. For me, the effort falls a bit flat. The picture that emerges of Walbridge is that of a man who was obviously highly intelligent, with a curious mind, but who also seemed to be a bit of a control freak and thus failed to give due regard to factors that were beyond his ability to control. But I give the author credit for laying the facts out there for the reader to make up his or her own mind.
Finally, the author does a very nice job of detailing the almost superhuman effort of the multiple Coast Guard search and rescue personnel who made it possible for most of Bounty’s crew to come home alive. This, for me, was the most educational part of the book.