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Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World Hardcover – February 26, 2013
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I had heard of Nellie Bly -- although I knew little about the extraordinary media interest her trip inspired. I had never heard of Bisland, who faded into total obscurity but is resurrected here by author Matthew Goodman as an attractive personality. Hailing from impoverished Southern aristocracy, she was determined, talented, well-read, civilized and very beautiful. She comes across in the book in many ways as the more attractive personality (one feels that Goodman is a little in love with her) even though she lost the race and thereby her chance to become a footnote in journalistic history.
The book alternates between chapters on each woman as they experience their adventures, braving horrible ocean storms and boredom on the waves along with headlong rushes to catch ships of trains. But Goodman also interposes many fascinating little asides on the state of the world and society at a time when the globe had suddenly shrunk making such a voyage possible. For instance I learned that before the railroads, there were 27 times zones in the state of Illinois and 38 in Wisconsin. Boston was 12 minutes ahead of New York.Read more ›
Elizabeth Jane Cochran, who went by the pen name "Nellie Bly," wanted to try. She presented her idea to the editor of The World, a newspaper printed by Joseph Pulitzer in New York City. After much thought and consideration, Nellie not only came to the conclusion that a person could make it around the world in 80 days, she also believed that she could complete such a journey in as few as 77 days. She would travel by boat, train and personal conveyance east from New York. Her editor turned down her idea for two reasons: first, the paper was not ready to send anyone on a journey around the world (although they had been considering it); and second, if they were to do so, they most certainly would not send a woman as they believed only a man could accomplish such a feat alone. But nearly a year later, Nellie was sent a message from the editors saying that they wanted to send her on a trip around the world. So, on that big day, she set sail on the Augusta Victoria on the first leg of her journey.
Unbeknownst to Nellie, Elizabeth Bisland, a journalist for Cosmopolitan magazine, left New York on a trip around the world by train en route to San Francisco, to complete the first segment of her journey. After the announcement was made by The World, Pulitzer decided to make the adventure a race and a competition to see who could get around the world the fastest.Read more ›
No, it wasn't the story. It was the writing. This book could have easily been half the size if Matthew Goodman could have just kept all the little tangents and offshoots to himself. Although I just stated the writing is what kept this book down, I blame the editor more than the author. It's obvious Goodman did his research, he needed help to know which tidbits added to the story and which just weighed it all down. Honestly, if this wasn't being read for my book club I most likely wouldn't have finished it - and I never just abandon a book. Especially one I paid for!
The story of Elizabeth Bisland and Nellie Bly is really amazing and worth learning about. Just know ahead of time that the tangents the author goes off on are NOT pertinent to the story and you can skim over them. It will make it much easier to get through. It honestly has nothing to do with the projection of the story for you to know how the Thomas Cook Travel Agency got its start or the exact address of every person in the book. Some of the information is interesting, I am actually quite a history buff and usually enjoy such interesting items. But the info pulls you out of the story and it just doesn't flow.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read the prologue of this book in a bookstore while waiting for some friends, and while I didn't have the means to purchase it at the time I found myself thinking about it daily... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Aundrea Sue
Mathew Goodman did a great job of making this piece of history a page turner for me. I loved learning about these 2 fascinating women who were way ahead of their time and made... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Barbara J. Bannon
What an enjoyable book. Once I started reading, I had to stop and check that it actually was a nonfiction book. It was that riveting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Melissa
Excellent book. The author brought the time of the 1890's to life. One could see the scenery, the people, and the communications of the times very vividly. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Edward M. Zingone
A very interesting, exciting, little remembered piece of history, wonderfully told. Goodman is a terrific researcher and an excellent writer.Published 8 months ago by Justin L. Kodner
Well researched and interesting, but could have benefited from some tighter editing. Often felt like TMI.Published 8 months ago by Mary