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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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On November 14, 1889, two young female journalists raced against one another, determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero and circle the globe in less than 80 days. The dramatic race that ensued would span 28,000 miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345527264
0345527267
Branch Call Number: 910.4109252 B6611g 2013
Characteristics: xxiii, 449 p. :,ill., maps, ports. ;,25 cm
Alternate Title: 80 days

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Not quite finished with this yet but totally loving it. So crazy to think that my sweet grandma had to deal with much of the same hooey that these two Victorian women did. Great narrative history of two strong women journalists and what it was really like to travel as a solitary female back then... Read More »

Join the discussion on Dec. 14, 2014. In November of 1889, two young female journalists raced against one another, determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero and circle the globe in less than 80 days. The dramatic race that ensued would span 28,000 miles, captivate the nation, and change bo... Read More »

On November 14, 1889, two young female journalists raced against one another, determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero and circle the globe in less than 80 days. The dramatic race that ensued would span 28,000 miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever.


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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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app08 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52