69 books like Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century

By Christopher Bell (editor), Bruce Elleman (editor),

Here are 69 books that Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century fans have personally recommended if you like Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny

Keith Grint Author Of Mutiny and Leadership

From my list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them.

Why am I passionate about this?

My academic writing is focused on leadership, and leading mutinies is probably the most dangerous thing any leader can do: the chances of success are slim and the likelihood of the leaders surviving even a successful mutiny are negligible. So why do it? The book suggests an answer through a typology of dissent that is rooted in the environment mutineers find themselves in, but that still doesn’t explain by very similar conditions generate very different outcomes. To explain that I turned to two ideas: the importance of the moral economy and the role of the puer robustus – the inveterate recalcitrant who takes it upon themselves to resolve the despotic situation.

Keith's book list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them

Keith Grint Why did Keith love this book?

If ever there was a mutiny that road roughshod over the romantic assumptions that mutineers were the ‘better angels’ of these events, then the mutiny on the Batavia is it. In 1628 the largest ship owned by the Dutch East India Company during the Golden Age of the Netherlands is shipwrecked and taken over by Jeronimus Cornelisz and his gang of mutineers. They then establish a dystopian world on a deserted island and systematically murder many of those who survive before the last survivors are rescued. You need a strong stomach to read this, but it is an important warning for idealists and romantics.

By Mike Dash,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Batavia's Graveyard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Tulipomania comes Batavia’s Graveyard, the spellbinding true story of mutiny, shipwreck, murder, and survival.

It was the autumn of 1628, and the Batavia, the Dutch East India Company’s flagship, was loaded with a king’s ransom in gold, silver, and gems for her maiden voyage to Java. The Batavia was the pride of the Company’s fleet, a tangible symbol of the world’s richest and most powerful commercial monopoly. She set sail with great fanfare, but the Batavia and her gold would never reach Java, for the Company had also sent along a new employee, Jeronimus Corneliszoon,…


Book cover of Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857

Keith Grint Author Of Mutiny and Leadership

From my list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them.

Why am I passionate about this?

My academic writing is focused on leadership, and leading mutinies is probably the most dangerous thing any leader can do: the chances of success are slim and the likelihood of the leaders surviving even a successful mutiny are negligible. So why do it? The book suggests an answer through a typology of dissent that is rooted in the environment mutineers find themselves in, but that still doesn’t explain by very similar conditions generate very different outcomes. To explain that I turned to two ideas: the importance of the moral economy and the role of the puer robustus – the inveterate recalcitrant who takes it upon themselves to resolve the despotic situation.

Keith's book list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them

Keith Grint Why did Keith love this book?

This is a multi-volume work that poses several questions surrounding the events of 1857. First, while the British called it a ‘mutiny’, the rebels were clear that their ‘rebellion’ was as much to do with freeing the country from the British colonial power as it was to do with concerns about cultural taboos surrounding the use of animal fat in weapon cartridges. Second, the voices of the rebels/mutineers, for the first time, outnumber those of the colonial power. So often in mutinies we only hear the voices of the authorities, here we are surrounded by their opponents.

By Gavin Rand (editor), Crispin Bates (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mutiny at the Margins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Mutiny at the Margins series takes a fresh look at the Revolt of 1857 from a variety of original and unusual perspectives, focusing in particular on neglected socially marginal groups and geographic areas which have hitherto tended to be unrepresented in studies of this cataclysmic event in British imperial and Indian historiography.

Military Aspects of the Indian Uprising (Volume 4) deals with how battles were won and lost and how the army re-organised after the revolt. It also touches on the thorny issue of how to define the events of 1857-as a rebellion, a national uprising or a small…


Book cover of Mr Bligh's Bad Language: Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty

Keith Grint Author Of Mutiny and Leadership

From my list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them.

Why am I passionate about this?

My academic writing is focused on leadership, and leading mutinies is probably the most dangerous thing any leader can do: the chances of success are slim and the likelihood of the leaders surviving even a successful mutiny are negligible. So why do it? The book suggests an answer through a typology of dissent that is rooted in the environment mutineers find themselves in, but that still doesn’t explain by very similar conditions generate very different outcomes. To explain that I turned to two ideas: the importance of the moral economy and the role of the puer robustus – the inveterate recalcitrant who takes it upon themselves to resolve the despotic situation.

Keith's book list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them

Keith Grint Why did Keith love this book?

This is an unusual take on perhaps the best-known mutiny of them all: the mutiny on HMS Bounty. While most books on the topic focus on the conditions around the mutiny or the state of the relationship between Captain Bligh and the mutineers, especially Fletcher Christian, Denning takes the view of a cultural anthropologist and explores the language and theatrical performances of those involved and situates these against the historical context and the way that context – and therefore the accounts of the mutiny – shifted across time.

By Greg Dening,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr Bligh's Bad Language as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Captain Bligh and the mutiny on the Bounty have become proverbial in their capacity to evoke the extravagant and violent abuse of power. But William Bligh was one of the least violent disciplinarians in the British navy. It is this paradox which inspired Greg Dening to ask why the mutiny took place. His book explores the theatrical nature of what was enacted in the power-play on deck, on the beaches at Tahiti and in the murderous settlement at Pitcairn, on the altar stones and temples of sacrifice, and on the catheads from which men were hanged. Part of the key…


Book cover of The Christmas Truce: Myth, Memory, and the First World War

Keith Grint Author Of Mutiny and Leadership

From my list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them.

Why am I passionate about this?

My academic writing is focused on leadership, and leading mutinies is probably the most dangerous thing any leader can do: the chances of success are slim and the likelihood of the leaders surviving even a successful mutiny are negligible. So why do it? The book suggests an answer through a typology of dissent that is rooted in the environment mutineers find themselves in, but that still doesn’t explain by very similar conditions generate very different outcomes. To explain that I turned to two ideas: the importance of the moral economy and the role of the puer robustus – the inveterate recalcitrant who takes it upon themselves to resolve the despotic situation.

Keith's book list on mutiny, and how to lead or avoid them

Keith Grint Why did Keith love this book?

The Christmas ‘Truce’ of December 1914 is both well-known and widely mythologized. What Crocker does is take the conventional account that insists on a sanitized and good-natured holiday break between warring nations, and subjects that narrative to a critical approach. This exposes a whole gamut of alternative understandings, including the way that the military establishments on both sides struggled to contain the dissent and fought hard to represent it, not as a mutiny, but as a mutual agreement between two chivalrous armies. 

By Terri Blom Crocker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Christmas Truce as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In late December 1914, German and British soldiers on the western front initiated a series of impromptu, unofficial ceasefires. Enlisted men across No Man's Land abandoned their trenches and crossed enemy lines to sing carols, share food and cigarettes, and even play a little soccer. Collectively known as the Christmas Truce, these fleeting moments of peace occupy a mythical place in remembrances of World War I. Yet new accounts suggest that the heartwarming tale ingrained in the popular imagination bears little resemblance to the truth.

In this detailed study, Terri Blom Crocker provides the first comprehensive analysis of both scholarly…


Book cover of The Bloody Flag: Mutiny in the Age of Atlantic Revolution

Wim Klooster Author Of Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History

From my list on the Age of Revolutions.

Why am I passionate about this?

To an Atlantic historian like me, the era of revolutions is one of the most dramatic historical periods, which erased many of the structures on which the Atlantic world had been built for centuries. It raised many hopes, which were often defeated, but lasting advances were made nonetheless.  

Wim's book list on the Age of Revolutions

Wim Klooster Why did Wim love this book?

Beautifully written, this book focuses on the many mutinies that took place in the 1790s in the Dutch, English, and French navies. Some of the mutinies were massive and lasted for weeks. They were a consequence of the ever-growing exploitation of sailors as international rivalry increased. English mutineers tried but failed to set up a radical maritime republic. 

By Niklas Frykman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bloody Flag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The global legacy of mutiny and revolution on the high seas.

Mutiny tore like wildfire through the wooden warships of the age of revolution. While commoners across Europe laid siege to the nobility and enslaved workers put the torch to plantation islands, out on the oceans, naval seamen by the tens of thousands turned their guns on the quarterdeck and overthrew the absolute rule of captains. By the early 1800s, anywhere between one-third and one-half of all naval seamen serving in the North Atlantic had participated in at least one mutiny, many of them in several, and some even on…


Book cover of The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic

Jared Davidson Author Of Dead Letters: Censorship and Subversion in New Zealand 1914-1920

From my list on radical history that rocked my world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reader, I want to be thrown into the heady world of revolution, to learn how everyday people made history, to see what they saw and feel what they felt. And I want a book that challenges mainstream narratives of the past. Radical history does this through gripping storytelling and revealing hidden histories of power. As a writer that tries to shine a light on lesser-known aspects of New Zealand’s past, these five books are both my ‘how-to’ and inspiration. I love to share the stories of people who are often left out of history but nonetheless made it. And being an archivist means questions of power and memory are always lurking.

Jared's book list on radical history that rocked my world

Jared Davidson Why did Jared love this book?

Charting the revolutionary Atlantic through the stories of mutinous seamen, radical soldiers, unruly women, slaves, pirates, and common workers, this is a rip-roaring example of ‘history from below.’ By revealing the hidden history of resistance and how it weaves back and forth through time and across oceans, The Many-Headed Hydra showed me the power of history told through the lives of everyday people. It’s engaging. Sweeping. Political. A deserving sibling of EP Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class. And a great example of how pulling at threads can reveal surprising connections. A must-read and one I pull off the shelf whenever I’m in need of inspiration.

By Peter Linebaugh, Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Many-Headed Hydra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Long before the American Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a motley crew of sailors, slaves, pirates, labourers, market women and indentured servants had ideas about freedom and equality that would forever change history. The Many-Headed Hydra recounts their stories in a sweeping history of the role of the dispossessed in the making of the modern world.


Book cover of Paths of Glory

W.D. Wetherell Author Of A Century of November

From my list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novelist, essayist, and short-story writer W. D. Wetherell is the author of over two dozen books. A visit to the World War One battlefields in Flanders led to his lasting interest in the human tragedies of l914-18, inspiring his novel A Century of November, and his critical study Where Wars Go to Die; The Forgotten Literature of World War One.

W.D.'s book list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One

W.D. Wetherell Why did W.D. love this book?

Film historians regard the movie version as one of Stanley Kubrick’s most powerful achievements, thanks in no small measure to Kirk Douglas, who, in the role of a French colonel desperate to preserve the life of his men in a suicidal attack, gives a performance for the ages. The l935 novel the film is based on stands on its own as one of the great anti-war books that followed in World War One’s wake.

By Humphrey Cobb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paths of Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Familiar to many as the Stanley Kubrick film starring Kirk Douglas, "Paths of Glory" explores the perilous complications involved in what nations demand of their soldiers in wartime. Humphrey Cobb's protagonists are Frenchmen during the First World War whose nightmare in the trenches takes a new and terrible turn when they are ordered to assault a German position deemed all but invulnerable. When the attack fails, an inquiry into allegations of cowardice indicts a small handful of lower-ranked scapegoats whose trial exposes the farce of ordering ordinary men to risk their lives in an impossible cause. A chilling portrait of…


Book cover of The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

Glynis Ridley Author Of The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe

From my list on famous sea voyages we think we know, but don’t.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember the first time I stepped onto a sailing ship and that was the full-size replica of the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, London. The younger me descended below decks and started to imagine the enormity of risking everything on an expedition into the unknown. Since that time, I’ve become an eighteenth-century scholar, able to channel my wonder at the age of sail into researching, teaching, writing, and broadcasting about many aspects of the period. I hope the books on this list help you journey all over the globe with a sense of what it was like to trust your life to a self-contained floating world heading into unchartered waters. 

Glynis' book list on famous sea voyages we think we know, but don’t

Glynis Ridley Why did Glynis love this book?

For me, this irresistible read is more than an incredible true story: It’s an exploration of how to choose between different versions of historical events.

The crew of the Wager became shipwrecked off the Patagonian coast after a disastrous attempt to round Cape Horn in 1741. The survivors quarreled. Did naval hierarchy still apply? Early in 1742, a starving group of survivors arrived by boat at a Brazilian settlement. Other groups would make their separate ways to safety.

I think the power of Grann’s writing lies not only in his ability to put us on that patched-together ship, and that desolate shore, but to put us in the archives and the naval court martial, wondering how we’d make sense of the competing stories told by the survivors and what justice would look like in this case. 

By David Grann,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Wager as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The beauty of The Wager unfurls like a great sail... one of the finest nonfiction books I've ever read' Guardian

'The greatest sea story ever told' Spectator

'A cracking yarn... Grann's taste for desperate predicaments finds its fullest expression here' Observer

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER

From the international bestselling author of KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON and THE LOST CITY OF Z, a mesmerising story of shipwreck, mutiny and murder, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth.

On 28th January 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the…


Book cover of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

James G. Stavridis Author Of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

From my list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Along the way, I served in and commanded destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers in combat, and I have faced many very difficult decisions under extreme pressure. In addition, I’ve been in the Pentagon for many assignments, including as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense – which also created countless high-pressure decisions. What I learned in the Navy has helped me again and again in calculating risk and making the right decisions. 

James' book list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

A novel about a rusty old destroyer minesweeper, a supremely difficult captain, a mixed bag officers in a dysfunctional wardroom, a horrific typhoon, and a nail-biting court-martial. The seagoing and combat portions of the novel are very realistic, reflecting Wouk’s time in uniform on a similar class of ship in the Pacific during WWII. In my hand as I write this is a battered 1951 first edition of the novel, with a slightly tattered cover, which I treasure above almost any book in the five thousand volumes in my personal library. Over the years of my career, I’ve returned again and again to The Caine Mutiny, and the fundamental lesson of this sea novel is what both leaders and followers owe each other, especially in the demanding crucible of the sea.

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The novel that inspired the now-classic film The Caine Mutiny and the hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life—and mutiny—on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half century, The Caine Mutiny has become a perennial favorite of readers young and old, has sold millions of copies throughout the world, and has achieved the status…


Book cover of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Jerry Mikorenda Author Of The Whaler's Daughter

From my list on young people dealing with social and emotional trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of great novels, I don’t recall plot twists, beautiful language, or exotic settings. I remember the characters. How they met or didn’t meet, the challenges put before them. Great, unforgettable characters create great stories. They take risks, become friends with people society tells them not to, and don’t hide their motivations or fears. They show their humanity. A great character can make walking down a supermarket aisle an exciting adventure. Boring, one-dimensional ones can make a rocket launch seem like you’re reading about paint drying. All the books I discuss hit the character checklist tenfold. 

Jerry's book list on young people dealing with social and emotional trauma

Jerry Mikorenda Why did Jerry love this book?

In my mind, this book shows one of the great character arcs in literature. The persnickety thirteen-year-old Charlotte begins her 1832 voyage from London to America admiring iron-fisted Captain Jaggery of the Seahawk. When she overhears the crew speaking of mutiny, she snitches on them.

At one point, I was hoping she’d get swept overboard. But Charlotte bonds with the ship’s black cook, Zachariah, and begins to see life beyond her vantage of a rich white child of privilege. As conditions worsen on the Seahawk, Charlotte sides with the crew, becomes a deckhand, and eventually their captain!

This is an old-time, swashbuckling, wind to yer back, sea adventure. I can still smell the bilgewater years after reading it.  

By Avi,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now with exclusive bonus content!

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!A Newbery Honor Book* "A thrilling tale, tautly plotted, vividly narrated." --Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewThirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a…


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