The names William Bligh, Fletcher Christian, and the Bounty have excited the popular imagination for more than two hundred years. On an April morning in 1789, near the island known today as Tonga, William Bligh and eighteen loyal seamen were expelled from the Bounty, and began what would be the greatest open-boat voyage in history, sailing some 4,000 miles to safety in Timor. The mutineers, led by Fletcher Christian, sailed off into a mystery that has never been entirely resolved.
While the full story of what drove the men to revolt or what really transpired during the struggle may never be known, Penguin Classics has brought together all the relevant texts and documents related to a drama that has fascinated generations. Here are the full text of Bligh's Narrative of the Mutiny, the minutes of the court proceedings gathered by Edward Christian in an effort to clear his brother's name, and the highly polemic correspondence between Bligh and Christian -- all amplified by Robert Madison's illuminating introduction and rich selection of subsequent Bounty narratives.