Mutiny on the Globe: The Fatal Voyage of Samuel Comstock

Thomas Farel Heffernan

Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2002
ISBN 10: 0393041638 / ISBN 13: 9780393041637
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A bloody mutiny on a whaling journey, followed by an incredible tale of survival on land and sea.

Samuel Comstock knew he was born to do some great thing, but his only legacy was a reign of terror. Two years out of Nantucket on a whaling voyage in 1824, he organized a mutiny and murdered the officers of the Globe. It was a premeditated act; in his sea chest Comstock carried the seeds, tools, and weapons with which he would found his own island kingdom. He had often described these plans to one of his brothers, William. But the chief witness and chronicler of the mutiny was young George Comstock, who neither participated in nor approved of his brother's savage deed.

Within days of settling on Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Comstock was murdered by his fellow mutineers. Six innocent seamen―George among them―seized the Globe and escaped; most of the rest were killed by natives. Two survivors lived for twenty-two months, half-prisoners and half-adoptees of the natives, until they were rescued in a bold and dangerous maneuver by a landing party from the U.S. schooner Dolphin.

The Globe's story is one of terror, adventure, endurance, and luck. It is also the story of one of the most bizarre and frightening minds that ever went to sea.

Review: Thomas Heffernan's Mutiny on the Globe is the tale of 19th-century psychopathy on the high seas. In 1824, to satisfy a long-held dream of creating a desert island kingdom, Samuel Comstock, of Nantucket and New York City, led a ghastly mutiny aboard a whaler in the South Seas. Within days, Comstock, who had begun establishing his monarchy in the Marshall Islands, was murdered by his fellow mutineers. Some of the remaining seamen returned to America; others were butchered by Marshallese, and two were held in benign captivity by the natives for 21 months. Heffernan's account of the mutiny is oddly brief. The bulk of his narrative traces Comstock's inexplicably bizarre pre-mutiny life and the post-mutiny existence of the two marooned sailors. Though the self-consciously artful prose too often interferes with the primary narrative--as do the many tangential historical asides--the book does contain some haunting and macabre moments. --H. O'Billovich

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Title: Mutiny on the Globe: The Fatal Voyage of ...
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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