In 1808, an American merchant ship happened upon an uncharted island in the South Pacific and unwittingly solved the biggest nautical mystery of the era: the whereabouts of a band of fugitives who, after seizing their vessel, had disappeared into the night with their Tahitian companions. Seven generations later, the island is still inhabited by descendants of the original mutineers, marooned like modern castaways.
In 2018, Brandon Presser went to live among its families; two clans bound by circumstance and secrets. There, he pieced together Pitcairn's full story: an operatic saga that holds all visitors in its mortal clutch – even the author.
Told through vivid historical and personal narrative, The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania and Mutiny in the South Pacific (Icon Books, 2022) goes beyond the infamous mutiny on the Bounty, offering an unprecedented glimpse at life on the fringes of civilization, and how, perhaps, it's not so different from our own.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.