Rated of 5
by Patricia T. (Fallbrook, CA) Eighty Days
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
by Carole A. (Denver, CO) Delightful Days
The few days I read this book were delightful! From beginning to end this book was interesting and enthralling. I have already recommended it to both of my book clubs for inclusion next year as well as to many friends. The research that went into the book and the weaving of the research into the story was, in my opinion, brilliant. The vivid descriptions of travel, people and the character of people was interesting well thought out. If nothing else women readers should appreciate how far women have come! This book is going into my list of favorites. Bravo to Matthew Goodman.
Rated of 5
by Laurette A. (Rome, New York) Very enjoyable.
Reads like fiction only it's not! Part history lesson, part travelog, part adventure story and totally engrossing. Eighty Days is immensely informative and a pleasure to read. While I had heard of Nellie Bly I had never heard of Elisabeth Bisland and I did not know the grand story of their race around the world. Matthew Goodman manages to make this rather lengthy book about them and that race interesting and a great read. I particularly enjoyed learning about the different cultures of the countries they visited. This would make a good choice for a book club discussion.
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 Viqui G. (State College, PA) 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 Kathleen D. (Hooksett, NH) Amazing Women~1889
Matthew Goodman's very readable "Eighty Days" is an excellent source for anyone interested in women in America's history, particularly young women of today. These are the brave shoulders that helped pave the way for today's women. Especially in respect to Nellie Bly. In addition to Nellie winning "the race", I find her career tremendously inspiring. She was absolutely fearless. Looking further into her investigation of Blackwell's Island, one can certainly judge her mettle. In 1889 Blackwell's was an asylum for insane women--one where any husband, particularly a wealthy one, could conveniently commit his wife. Nellie was determined to get herself committed and expose the horrific abuse occurring there. She took this assignment without any guarantee that her employer Joseph Pulitizer, of the WORLD newspaper, could secure her release! Nellie wrote extensively about the nightmarish plight of the women imprisoned on Blackwell's Island and the exposure resulted in changes. However, those women haunted Nellie all of her life. When one considers Nellie's bravery in this instance, her trip around the world revealed the certainty that she could face any challenge!
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