HISTORY

The Bloody Flag: Mutiny in the Age of Atlantic Revolution

Univ. of California. Sept. 2020. 318p. ISBN 9780520355477. $32.95. HIST
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In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, bloody revolutions wracked the North Atlantic world. During this same period, mutinies spread like wildfire throughout the navies of this region, extending from Maine to Virginia. In his first book, Frykman (history, Univ. of Pittsburgh) takes readers from the realm of master and commander to below decks, where a motley crew worked, slept, fought, died, and conspired to reorder the maritime world. Throughout, Frykman marshals an impressive array of primary sources in English, French, and Dutch, as he explores the myriad motives of sailors to raise the bloody flag of mutiny. Sailors mutinied for better pay, working conditions, food, shore leave, and stronger grog (a concoction of rum and water). In the wake of the French Revolution, sailors mutinied to claim their rights as free citizens and to level the differences between officers and crew and to limit the arbitrary rules and harsh punishments meted out by officers.
VERDICT Frykman breathes life into his subject in this vividly written tale of an oft-underrepresented history. Readers interested in maritime, naval, labor, and Atlantic history will greatly enjoy.

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