Paradise in Chains: The Bounty Mutiny and the Founding of Australia
"This story is an adventure on a grand scale directed by powerful institutions but told via the actions of colorful characters"
The Pacific Ocean is a continent far larger than Australia as illustrated in Paradise in Chains by the references to Tahiti. Unlike America, Pacific peoples traded and traveled over vast distances before Captain James Cook's voyages opened this vast area to exploitation.
Discovery, clash of cultures, and conquest creating modern globalization have received proper notice. This last great global joining from the 1760s to the early 1800s, however, still needs telling.
Author Diana Preston sets this tale in the Enlightenment and the Age of Revolution. The author, for example, explains that men like James Cook and Arthur Phillip prove that "advancement was not always dependent on wealth and privilege."
Similarly, Sir Joseph Banks "searched so hard for botanical specimens that Cook named Botany Bay after him and his associates." Many of these men belonged to the Masons.
Paradise in Chains chronicles the major part of Britain's "attempts to exploit its discoveries made in the Pacific." The Empire's "loss of the American colonies" was the "impetus for British attempts to exploit" the islands for cheap food and as a dumping ground for convicts.
The American Revolution also forced Britain to rethink its "strategy toward the rest of the world." Its leaders saw "opportunities for trade and use as a staging post for British merchantmen" and "forestalling French, Spanish, and Dutch" ambitions in the Pacific.
The peoples of these lands, often-sophisticated cultures, suffered from culture shock, disease, alcoholism etc. They also used the Europeans and "contributed to the discussion" of "whether a society based on man's inherent moral qualities had advantages over those ruled by laws."
Pacific Islander ideas on property, sex etc. influenced Rousseau and Diderot "about the relative virtues of Tahitian and European society." Even James Boswell, the subject of a backstory in the book, debated his famous friend Dr. Samuel Johnson on that issue.
The main storyline, however, involves how the founding of convict British Australia connected with the mutiny on the Bounty. It is a unique tale of escape and capture involving "Bounty prisoners, Botany Bay escapees, and Pandora survivors."
Paradise in Chains, a book about convicts, disease, naturalists, sex, ships, wool, and so much more, has color illustrations and documentation. The history lover will find much in this book.
This story is an adventure on a grand scale directed by powerful institutions but told via the actions of colorful characters, the well-known such as Fletcher Christian and William Bligh but also those lost to history.