Rebellion, Repression, Reinvention: Mutiny in Comparative Perspective

Publication Year



This is the first book to address the topic of mutiny in and of itself, or to present mutiny in a comparative framework. The fourteen contributors, a mixture of military, social, and political historians, examine instances of mutiny that occurred from ancient to modern times and on nearly every continent. Their findings call into question standard definitions of mutiny, while shedding new light on the patterns that mutiny tends to take, as well as the interactions that can occur between mutinous soldiers and surrounding civilian societies. While standard definitions of mutiny emphasize mass defiance by rank-and-file soldiers of the orders of their military superiors, the essays here demonstrate that mutiny can often take other forms.

Mutiny could consist of mass desertion, insurgency in the face of competing military and political authorities, or lengthy strings of strikes and assassinations against military and political superiors. The threat of mutiny, furthermore, could be as potent as an actual outbreak. Areas studied include early modern Europe, the Ottoman Empire, the antebellum United States, the British Empire, revolutionary Russia, the emerging nation-states of Latin America, imperial and Communist China, fascist Italy, war-torn Vietnam, and Nasser's Egypt. In the concluding section, contributors assess commemorations of mutiny and how they are modified or distorted in the process of their incorporation into official and popular memory.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Geoffrey Parker

Introduction by Jane Hathaway

Problems in Defining Mutiny

Desertion as Mutiny: Upcountry Georgians in the Army of Tennessee by Mark A. Weitz

Mutineer Johnny? The Italian Partisan Movement as Mutiny by Victoria C. Belco

Mutiny and Empires

Ideology, Greed, and Social Discontent in Early Modern Europe: Mercenaries and Mutinies in the Rebellious Netherlands, 1568-1609 by David J.B. Trim

Mutinies on Anglo-Jamaica, 1656-1660 by Carla Gardina Pestana

Mutiny in British India

Vellore 1806: The Meanings of Mutiny by Devadas Moodley

Military Culture and Military Protest: The Bengal Europeans and the "White Mutiny" of 1859 by Peter Stanley

The Indian Army, Total War, and the Dog that Didn't Bark in the Night by Raymond Callahan

Muntiny in Emerging Nation-States

The Politics of Seduction: Mutiny and Desertion in Early Nineteenth-Century Córdoba by Seth Meisel

100 Fathers to None: Successs and Failure in Two Wuhan Mutinies, 1911 and 1967 by Christopher A. Reed

Naval Mutinies

Mutiny in the Destroyer Division of the Baltic Fleet, May-June 1918 by Anatol Shmelev

Austro-Hungarian Naval Mutinies of World War I by Lawrence Sondhaus

Mutiny Remebered, Recounted, Reinvented

The River Crossing: Breaking Points (Metaphorical and Real) in Ottoman Mutiny by Palmira Brummett

The Symbolism of Slave Mutiny: Black Abolitionist Responses to the Amistad and Creole Incidents by Roy E. Finkenbine

With God on Our Side: Scripting Nasser's Free Officer Mutiny by Joel Gordon


Reviews and Endorsements

Jane Hathaway has pulled together a truly impressive volume that throws much light not only on mutinies but also on the social politics and organizational cultures of armed forces. State-of-the-art scholarship covers a range that includes India and Jamaica under the British, the American Civil War, the two World Wars, and modern China. In a volume that is conceptually rich, there are also important discussions on the symbolism and remembering of mutiny, for example, the symbolism of slave mutiny. A first-rate collection that deserves widespread attention.—Caroline Finkel

[This book] will challenge the preconceptions of military and other historians alike...Mutineers speak for themselves through the narratives in this collection. Thus we learn how they perceived their aims and the means by which they hoped to achieve them. We discover how they viewed themselves and chose to represent themselves and their discontents--as soliders or sailors pitted against unyielding officers, as subject of a distant ruler, as citizens expecting redress from a responsive government, or as a revolutionary vanguard.—Jeremy Black, author of The Politics of James Bond

It is a stimulating book in which the authors have made a major contribution to our understanding of mutiny in multi-contextual analysis. They have given us an expanded conception of mutiny from which further work can continue in this important area.—Lorenzo M. Crowell, Associate Professor of History, Mississippi State University

Westport, CT and London
Cloth: 9780275970109; ebook: 9780313003998