Eighty Days-Two Traveling Women
I was fascinated with the real story of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Brisland. I especially liked that the author gave us a thorough background of these young women's childhood and early life leading up to their fame as world travelers. This well researched background makes it easier for the reader to understand how these independent women were able to develop their unique strength of character. This character made it possible for them to embark on a race around the world alone, in 1889, when women generally stayed at home and raised children. The historical detail about life in the 1889 era enriched the book significantly. It really brought the story to life. The only detractor to this fine book is that the author sometimes went overboard with his historical minutia so that the Bly/Brisland story became sidetracked.
Rated of 5
by Robin M. (Newark, DE)
Eighty Days and more
Eighty Days is an enjoyable book, especially for history buffs and lovers of historical fiction. At times the book is written as if telling a grand adventure, and the reader may need to remember that he or she is reading a work of non-fiction. These are the best parts of the book, when one gets caught up in the travels and travails of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland. At other times the book is a more tedious read, as when the author continues with the ladies' lives well beyond the Eighty Days in the book's title, beciming less interesting as the interval increases. On the whole, I enjoyed this book for it's telling of a forgotten historical event, or at least one that I do not recall learning about in my history classes in school. I will be suggesting it to my book club the next time we decide to read a non-fiction book.
Rated of 5
by Diane H. (San Diego, CA)
Around the World
An interesting non-fiction book about an attempt by two women in 1889 to circumnavigate the globe in less than the 80 days it took Jules Verne's fictional character, Phileas Fogg. I love reading about strong, unconventional women and this book delivers. The book is full of interesting facts and fascinating trivia but does become a cumbersome read at times because of it. A great idea to summarize the rest of the women's lives in the epilogue. Overall an enjoyable read.
Rated of 5
by Virginia B. (Foster, RI)
Bly and Bisland See the World
Goodman's "Eighty Days" is a thoroughly researched and well written account of two 19th century woman journalists who attempt to beat the fictional character created by Jules Verne who traveled around the world in 80 days. I enjoyed learning about these two plucky women who went against the conventions of the time. Goodman skillfully reveals the personalities of these two women who have very different approaches and reactions to the challenge. In addition, I enjoyed reading the detailed accounts of America at the end of the 19th century and traveling conditions around the world. Having said that, I think that Goodman got lost in too much detail at times like a student who has done an enormous amount of research and wants to include everything. History buffs, women, and arm chair travelers will enjoy this book. "Nothing Daunted" by Dorothy Wickenden is a similar and interesting read.
Rated of 5
by Darshell S. (Warwick, RI)
This book is a good read. It is very well researched. The facts and history throughout the book are interesting and engaging. It is not dense or boring at all. The race is thrilling and you feel your self rooting for your fave to win. I would recommend this as a book club selection or just as a good read for yourself. It's history that reads like fiction. A great pick for the upcoming women's history month!
Rated of 5
by Patricia T. (Fallbrook, CA)
One of my favourite genres is non-fiction about women in history who achieved great things at a time when it was difficult for them to do so. I thought this would be a grand adventure in that category. It tells the story of a two directional race, one woman going west and one going east, to beat the fictional Phileas Fogg's Eighty Day journey around the world. But there was no sense of adventure or excitement, it was simply a travelogue, and the only suspense was whether the trains and steamships would arrive and leave on time. The westward journey of Bisland was a more enjoyable read, simply because she had an open mind and travelled with a positive attitude to all the new experiences she went through. Nellie Bly was the opposite, a bit of a snark, the eventual winner - a matter of record, not giving anything away here - but she was not an empathetic person. The book was well researched, with many interesting snippets of history throughout. A mini-bio of Pulitzer was of special interest, and the book gave a good over-view of the newspaper industry at the time. What I would have really enjoyed is more personal detail about how Nellie Bly managed with no spare clothes. I suppose she didn't think this a worthy subject for her journal. About page 300 I stopped reading and jumped straight to the Epiloque, one of the best parts, covering the rest of the two women's lives. Although I cannot rave about the book, they were certainly two very worthy subjects.
Rated of 5
slow read of a fast race
The book is very thorough on details which unfortunately made the book a slow and at sometimes cumbersome read. The subject is very interesting about all the trials a woman journalist had to go through to travel around the world but sometimes it felt just drawn out. I do think this would have an interest to someone wanting to learn more about women breaking through barriers.
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