Book Review: ‘Mutiny on the Spanish Main: HMS ‘Hermione’ and the Royal Navy’s revenge’ by A. Konstam,
The Hermione mutiny needs little introduction to those interested in the social history of the Royal Navy. It was the most notorious, most bloody and probably the most ruthlessly punished mutiny suffered by the navy. The Spithead and Nore mutinies in May and June 1797 might have been greater in scale and important for the achievement of some political objectives, but the Hermione mutiny in late September 1797 was the most sensational, most violent, and demonstrative of the extremes to which both seamen and their officers would go in their respective causes: to escape tyranny and to exact reprisal. Following the great fleet mutinies, Hermione drove home these lessons. The mutiny may have been a reluctant subject for discussion in the navy after 1797, but unquestionably it affected subsequent relations within its ranks. During the long and difficult Napoleonic War injustice, brutality and oppression persisted, but Hermione would remain a reminder of the dangers of neglecting the interests of seamen and contributed her legacy to the gradual process of social reform.