Helen Watson White
Bligh: William Bligh in the South Seas, by Anne Salmond (Penguin/Viking, 2011), 528 pp., $65.
A majority of the many books on Bligh might have dealt with these sorts of issues. Few, however, will have covered in such fascinating detail the variations between different officers’ logs, journals, and letters as to the ‘spin’ they put on events, including the extraordinary intricacies of Tahitian religion and royal custom, and ways of warfare, entertainment and hospitality. Major events are replicated in each volume of Salmond’s trilogy, but seen from a different perspective each time. While this book, like the other two, can be enjoyed for itself, the whole is unmistakeably a prodigious piece of work.
HELEN WATSON WHITE has degrees in English and theology from Otago University, and for five years was sole editor at University of Otago Press. A former university tutor and lecturer, she is currently a freelance editor, writer, arts reviewer and photographer.