Rated of 5
The Race Is On!
Impressed doesn't cover the half of it. Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History- Making Race Around the World is one romp of an adventure. A fan of vicarious thrills, this book gave me more than my money's worth. Who could not love the intrepid spirit of both these women and what they accomplished?
Of course I had heard the name Nellie Bly but truly knew little about her. Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran I was surprised to read what lengths she would go to for a good news story for New York's The World. From buying a baby to expose the slave trade, to feigning insanity to report on the mistreatment of women in Blackwell Island Insane Asylum there was little Bly wouldn't do for an expose. None though would bring her the acclaim and fame of her proposal to beat Jules Vern's 80 day around the world trip. With just a single grip to carry her needs and "dressed in a snugly fitted two-piece garment of dark blue broadcloth trimmed with camel's hair", she sets out on the journey of a life-time. Little did she realize rival magazine, The Cosmopolitan headed by John Brisben Walker, would pit his own candidate, Elizabeth Bisland, against her to circumnavigate the world in less than 80 days. Bly sets out in New York heading across the Atlantic, whereas Bisland's route takes her west across, 8 1/2 hours behind Nellie.
The race was enough to keep my interest but there's so much more for the reader to appreciate. A memoir not only of the women, Bly and Bisland but a period piece of New York and journalism. Nellie Bly's determination and fearless nature help to build a strong foundation for the right for women to hold leadership roles in the workplace.
Riveting narrative non-ficiton.