- Mutiny on the Bounty, which we just discussed.
- 'Men against the sea.' The story of Bligh's return to civilization with almost all of the 18 men cast adrift with him
- 'Pitcairn's Island.' The story of the mutineer's life on their island refuge.
|The full 'Bounty' trilogy by Nordhoff and Hall.|
Bligh, the petty tyrant, who's only power came from his position as captain and the weight of British Admiralty law. Bligh dominated his crew on their voyage to Tahiti, making unfair demands and obnoxious complaints. He handed out harsh lashings to anyone who he suspected of opposing him. When the ship landed in Tahiti and the men made friends with the natives who wanted to gift them with fresh meat and produce, Bligh commandeered everything for ship's stores. The men didn't trust Bligh because they suspected him of cheating them of their fair rations when the ship left England and pocketing the profits.
Fletcher Christian's leadership style was to trust the men under his command and treat them with the respect they deserved as men and sailors. Christian stood up to Bligh's bullying until his honor as a gentleman was challenged. At that point he chose to make a raft and abandon ship, only deciding to mutiny at an opportune moment. When he mutinied, most of the crew jumped to his side, knowing him to be a fair man. The only men who refused to side with him were some of the officers who well knew the punishment awaiting any British mutineers.
The story is simple and can be seen many times in every organization. Petty tyrants get themselves in positions of power and abuse that power but they always seem to get their's in the end. At least in my experience. Good leaders find followers who will stick their necks out for them when crisis strikes and lead their companies or projects to victory.
Book two offered a different contrast.