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Eighty Days

Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-making Race Around the World

Goodman, Matthew

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Eighty Days
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day--and heading in the opposite direction by train--was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span twenty-eight thousand miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever. nbsp; The two women were a study in contrasts. Nellie Bly was a scrappy, hard-driving, ambitious reporter from Pennsylvania coal country who sought out the most sensational news stories, often going undercover to expose social injustice. Genteel and elegant, Elizabeth Bisland had been born into an aristocratic Southern family, preferred novels and poetry to newspapers, and was widely referred to as the most beautiful woman in metropolitan journalism. Both women, though, were talented writers who had carved out successful careers in the hypercompetitive, male-dominated world of big-city newspapers. Eighty Days brings these trailblazing women to life as they race against time and each other, unaided and alone, ever aware that the slightest delay could mean the difference between victory and defeat. nbsp; A vivid real-life re-creation of the race and its aftermath, from its frenzied start to the nail-biting dash at its finish, Eighty Days is history with the heart of a great adventure novel. Here's the journey that takes us behind the walls of Jules Verne's Amiens estate, into the back alleys of Hong Kong, onto the grounds of a Ceylon tea plantation, through storm-tossed ocean crossings and mountains blocked by snowdrifts twenty feet deep, and to many more unexpected and exotic locales from London to Yokohama. Along the way, we are treated to fascinating glimpses of everyday life in the late nineteenth century--an era of unprecedented technological advances, newly remade in the image of the steamship, the railroad, and the telegraph. For Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland--two women ahead of their time in every sense of the word--were not only racing around the world. They were also racing through the very heart of the Victorian age. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more. nbsp; "What a story! What an extraordinary historical adventure!" --Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire nbsp; "A fun, fast, page-turning action-adventure . . . the exhilarating journey of two pioneering women, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, as they race around the globe." --Karen Abbott, author of American Rose nbsp; "[A] marvelous tale of adventure . . . The story of these two pioneering women unfolds amid the excitement, setbacks, crises, missed opportunities and a global trek unlike any other in its time. . . . Why would you want to miss out on the incredible journey that takes you to the finish line page after nail-biting page?" -- Chicago Sun-Times (Best Books of the Year) nbsp; "In a stunning feat of narrative nonfiction, Matthew Goodman brings the nineteenth century to life, tracing the history of two intrepid journalists as they tackled two male-dominated fields--world travel and journalism--in an era of incredible momentum." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0345527283
9780345527288
0345527267
9780345527264
Characteristics: xxiii, 449 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 25 cm.

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Dec 10, 2014
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The author has skillfully interwoven the itineraries of the pair of female travellers and expanded the account by including biographical information, background on railway, steam ship and telegraph technology, and commentary on colonial geography, life and hazards. An annotated global map of the two routes is provided along with segment maps, period photographs, an extensive bibliography and an index.

A lot of us have heard of Nellie Bly and some of us knew she was a reporter but what kind of reporter and in what period of American journalism history makes this book unique. After reading it, I realized it's not just about the round the world competition of two women reporters and their newspaper publishers but, how they both reacted to the fame. Does it have to do with their background and upbringing? Can anyone of us predict the decisions we may make? Good reading for those of us who travel a lot and need to be reminded that our culture and lifestyle need not be imposed on another.

I really wanted to like this book. Two boundary-stretching women in a race around the world back in the great days of ocean steamer and train travel. There were some interesting moments - snapshots of the time period - the Suez canal, travel conditions for the rich vs. the poor, a glimpse into Joseph Pulitzer's eccentric mind and so on. But for the most part this book dragged on and on, feeling more and more like watching paint dry. I'm not sure how to paste the stars onto this review, but "2 stars - max".

"Inspired by Jules Verne's fantastic novel Around the World in 80 Days, two rival 19th-century female journalists defied gender stereotypes in a headlong race to complete the fastest trip around the world in 1889. Smartly blending social history and armchair travel, author Matthew Goodman vividly captures the two women's very different personalities against the backdrop of a burgeoning Victorian travel industry that vowed to deliver more of the world, faster, and in more comfort than ever before. For the story of yet another adventuresome, influential, and well-travelled Victorian woman, try Georgina Howell's Daughter of the Desert: The Remarkable Life of Gertrude Bell as a follow-up." Armchair Travel February 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/65a45623-29d8-4930-a050-7045f18b95cf?postId=fbfe1dbc-f888-4b7d-a453-8350c366f628

Aug 07, 2013
  • artemishi rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book explores a subject I knew nothing about when I picked it up, but it's a fascinating one. Two adventuresome, gutsy Victorian ladies set off on an around-the-world race that was documented within their society. The subject is fascinating. The story, which sticks more to facts than fanciful imaginings of the characters involved, reads like a documentary or biography. It isn't dry, per se, but it's a third person narration. That's not to say that Bly and Bisland don't come alive on the page- they do! But it isn't a quick read. I recommend it for lovers of truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories, Victoriana, women (Bly and Bisland are inspiring in their fearlessness and practicality), and history.

Jul 02, 2013
  • doeraymee rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Disappointing. The author stuffs in a lot of facts that are not really relevant to the story. Luckily, after a while you learn to spot them starting and can skip down several paragraphs or a page or two to meet up with the narrative again. The jumping back between Bly's journey and Bisland's journey was a bit jarring too. I think for continuity it might have been better to split this book into two parts: one for Bly's trip and one for Bisland's.

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Dec 10, 2014
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"...the little flat white town [Aden] in the distance, the turbaned figures in the streets, the sailboats moored on the glassy sea beyond could all be clearly made out through the deepening twilight. ... There was nowhere on earth more distant than this, [Bly] knew, no place that could possibly be less like New York. ... Traveling by locomotive and steamship, she had been brought to the past. ..." [p. 258-9]

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app10 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52