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Batavia von Peter FitzSimons
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Batavia (2012. Auflage)

von Peter FitzSimons

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1828119,473 (4.16)7
It is no surprise that the barbarity and evil that came in the wake of the wreck of the Batavia has inspired books, radio and TV documentaries, plays and an opera. Lust, jealously, greed, madness, deception, rape, murder - all the classic ingredients conspire in the Batavia story to produce a scenario that is truly frightening.… (mehr)
Mitglied:Dharma05
Titel:Batavia
Autoren:Peter FitzSimons
Info:Random House Australia (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 512 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:*****
Tags:Keine

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Batavia von Peter FitzSimons

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Simply the best book I have read this year. If Stephen King had written Treasure Island, it wouldn't be nearly as gruesome, as Batavia and it's a true story! I must admit that even though my family is from Perth, I had never heard this story. As an avid reader of non-fiction I must say this one reads like a novel and that's what makes it so fascinating. Peter Fitzsimons took what could have been what some people may judge as a "dry history subject" and made it a total page turner. Make sure you don't have to get up early the next day if you start this one because you will be up all night. ( )
  aussiecowgurl | Mar 26, 2019 |
Where do I begin? I have given this 5 stars not for the craft of writing the book (which is great) but for the actual tale itself. It is an epic, unbelievable story that is true, and the truth is what makes it all the more incredible. I have always wanted to write this tale myself but I honestly don't think that I could have done it any better than Fitzsimmon's stark journalistic style. "This happened , then this happened..." gives the story a weight of honesty. There is very little in the way of descriptive, emotive text and "fill in the gaps" writing, and what little there is does not in any way detract from the telling.
For those who don't know, this is the tale of three men : Pelsart the commander of the Batavia who is bound in his actions by duty, honor and restraint, Jeronimus Cornelisz,the apothecary who is driven by greed, lust, and the need for control and power, and Webbie Hayes, an ordinary soldier with pragmatism, natural leadership skills and an extraordinary ability to plan for any eventuality and unite others without resorting to fear and intimidation. The Batavia is a flagship of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) that controls the spice trade and she sets out in the 1620s from the Netherlands bound for Jakarta (then know also as Batavia). She is carrying chests of coins, valuables for trading and 310 + people as she leads 6 other ships in convoy around the horn of Africa and across the Indian Ocean to present-day Indonesia.
Although commanded by Pelsart - he spends most of his time ill in his cabin with malaria, it is the evil Jeronimous and the skipper Jacobez who plot to steal the ship and its valuables (including the lovely Lucretia - a high class wife travelling to meet her husband) and become pirates/outlaws. To this end, Jacobez steers the Batavia away from the rest of the fleet deliberately and is about to take over when the vessel runs aground on the shallow Abrolhos Island shoals (about 80 kms off the coast of WA).

What happens next is extraordinary and beggars belief but it is all true; documented in great detail in the trial notes that followed, in Pelsart's own journal and in a letter by the Chaplain on board to his relatives soon after.

So in brief: (PLOT SPOILERS IN ABUNDANCE!!)
1. 180 people are ferried to nearby islands
2. 70 are left on board including Jeronimous.
3. There are 2 boats attached to the Batavia that are used to transport people and food from the boat.
4. Pelsart goes looking for water and food with a small amount of crew including the traitor skipper Jacobez. They encounter aboriginal peoples on the coast of WA and after various sailing mishaps that push them further north, soon realise their only option is to leave behind the survivors and try to reach Batavia. They leave without being able to go back to tell the survivors what is happening.
5. Jeronimous Cornelisz is washed ashore when the Batavia finally sinks and as 3rd in charge takes control. He splits all the Survivors into groups on various islands according to his master plan of eliminating any resistance to his power. For instance, after confiscating everyone's weapons , he moves the soldiers under Webbie Hayes to one island where he tells them to find water but expects them to all die of thirst and starvation.
6. Using trusted henchmen, he systematically kills anyone who poses a threat to him under cover of darkness. Also murdering people who may eat their dwindling food stocks or who don't contribute anything to the struggling community ( the old, the ill, the unskilled - i.e he keeps all the carpenters alive to make new boats). Murder is also used to keep others in line - the preacher's family are all slaughtered to make sure that the preacher and his daughter comply with his rule.
7. He kidnaps all the women who are "comely" (ugly ones are killed) and forces them to be communal sex slaves for his followers with the exception of Lucretia (who he keeps for himself) and the preacher's daughter (who he gives to his right hand man)
8. Meanwhile, Webbie Hayes (though not the most senior soldier) organises everyone on his island, he rations water until they find some, builds forts and kills kangaroos for food and soon realises with horror what Jeronimous is up to when some survivors swim to his island and tell him what is going on. He decides to use stones and slings to defend the island, believing that Pelsart or the VOC will send a rescue ship as their cargo is so valuable.
9.Pelsart manages to reach Batavia where Jacobez is arrested for his part in an indecent assault on Lucretia before the shipwreck. It takes 2 weeks to ready a rescue ship and then weeks and weeks of systematically searching the WA coast without running aground for the Batavia, as Jacobez has written the coordinates wrong.
10. Jeronimous realizes that Webbie's island will be closer to the rescue ship when it comes so he decides to launch all out attacks which Hayes repels. Hayes even captures Jeronimous so his deputy is forced to launch a full scale attack on Webbie's men.
11. On the very day that this happens, Pelsart's rescue ship comes into view so Webbie launches a small boat they have built on the island to try and reach it before the attackers do to tell Pelsart what has happened. He succeeds.
12. A long trial ensues as Pelsart recovers all the lost valuables from the wreck bar one chest. Jeronimous and his followers are tortured, have their hands cut off and hung bar 2 who are marooned in the coast of WA. (Aboriginals in that area have dutch words, blue eyes and white skin and extra toes as a legacy from this ancestry)
13. Others are taken back to Batavia where they are tortured and executed.

There is a fascinating little side note to the story regarding the whereabouts of the Batavia wreck and the discovery of skeletons and artifacts in the islands at the end of the story. Fitzsimmons also tries to give some insight to what happened to the survivors after they were rescued.

I loved this story so much, I wanted to read it all again when I finished! I would recommend it for those who love historical tales that are backed up by hard facts and those interested in Australian history. It is also an amazing story of courage and resilience - what the few women who survived endured - how Webbie Hayes' ingenuity and leadership prevailed - and how one evil person can corrupt so many given the circumstances. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for Mature readers (there is rape, torture, dismemberment, etc.) ( )
  nicsreads | Dec 11, 2015 |
Interesting and factual, obviously well researched, but didn't really flow to me.... Too many of Peter's asides. ( )
  MustangAly | Oct 23, 2014 |
Fitzsimons really bought the gruesome tale to life. This is an amazing tale of the human spirit alongside the depths to which humanity can sink. ( )
  michelegorton | May 27, 2014 |
I am a sucker for a shipwreck story, and I was not disappointed. I have always been fascinated by the story of the Batavia, and I enjoyed this book. I like the way Peter Fitzsimons writes. It is entertaining, easy to read, at times he has humour. As an Aussie as well, I guess I like his writing style and easy going read. It was very brutal at times, but from previous reads of this story it does appear it was a particularly brutal voyage, sadly for those who suffered. ( )
  Dharma05 | Apr 5, 2014 |
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"Australian history is almost always picturesque; indeed, it is also so curious and strange, that it is itself the chiefest novelty the country has to offer and so it pushes the other novelties into second and third place. It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies; and all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones. It is full of surprises and adventures, the incongruities, and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true, they all happened." Mark Twain 1897
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To Hugh Edwards OAM, Max Cramer OAM and Henrietta Drake-Brockman, who did more than any in the modern era to bring this stunning story to light.
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Our story is set in a time of strangely overlapping cusps.
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Nature can't quite obliterate the image of that ship from the planet, any more than mankind can collectively forget what happened - for the story, and the impact of the story, is simply too strong.
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It is no surprise that the barbarity and evil that came in the wake of the wreck of the Batavia has inspired books, radio and TV documentaries, plays and an opera. Lust, jealously, greed, madness, deception, rape, murder - all the classic ingredients conspire in the Batavia story to produce a scenario that is truly frightening.

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