Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemkin
By Neal Bascomb
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618592067, 400pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
The true story of the deadliest naval mutiny in history
In 1905, after being served rancid meat, more than seven hundred Russian sailors mutinied against their officers aboard what was then one of the most powerful battleships in the world. Theirs was a life barely worth living -- a life of hard labor and bitter oppression, an existence, in its hopelessness and injustice, not unlike that of most of the working class in Russia at the time. Certainly their rebellion came as no surprise. Still, against any reasonable odds of success, the sailors-turned-revolutionaries, led by the charismatic firebrand Matyushenko, risked their lives to take control of the ship and fly the red flag of revolution. What followed was a violent port-to-port chase that spanned eleven harrowing days and came to symbolize the Russian revolution itself.
A pulse-quickening story that alternates between the opulent court of Nicholas II and the razor’s-edge tension aboard the Potemkin, Red Mutiny is a tale threaded with terrific adventure, epic naval battles, heroic sacrifices, treachery, bloodlust, and a rallying cry of freedom that would steer the course of the twentieth century. It is also a fine work of scholarship that draws for the first time on the Soviet archives to shed new light on this seminal event in Russian and naval history.
For readers of Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October and Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea, Neal Bascomb's gripping adventure at sea is the story of courage, the power of ideas, and the fragile nature of alliance.