On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that dayand heading in the opposite direction by train - was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span twenty-eight thousand miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever.
The two women were a study in contrasts. Nellie Bly was a scrappy, hard-driving, ambitious reporter from Pennsylvania coal country who sought out the most sensational news stories, often going undercover to expose social injustice. Genteel and elegant, Elizabeth Bisland had been born into an aristocratic Southern family, preferred novels and poetry to newspapers, and was widely referred to as the most beautiful woman in metropolitan journalism. Both women, though, were talented writers who had carved out successful careers in the hypercompetitive, male-dominated world of big-city newspapers. Eighty Days brings these trailblazing women to life as they race against time and each other, unaided and alone, ever aware that the slightest delay could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
A vivid real-life re-creation of the race and its aftermath, from its frenzied start to the nail-biting dash at its finish, Eighty Days is history with the heart of a great adventure novel. Here's the journey that takes us behind the walls of Jules Verne's Amiens estate, into the back alleys of Hong Kong, onto the grounds of a Ceylon tea plantation, through storm-tossed ocean crossings and mountains blocked by snowdrifts twenty feet deep, and to many more unexpected and exotic locales from London to Yokohama. Along the way, we are treated to fascinating glimpses of everyday life in the late nineteenth century - an era of unprecedented technological advances, newly remade in the image of the steamship, the railroad, and the telegraph. For Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland - two women ahead of their time in every sense of the wordwere not only racing around the world. They were also racing through the very heart of the Victorian age.
Part history lesson, part travelogue, part adventure story and totally engrossing. I knew after reading the first page that this book was a keeper. And I was right. Not only is the story fascinating, but the historical facts contained within make one aware of how fortunate we are to be able to travel as we do today. (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Deftly mixing social history into an absorbing travel epic, Goodman conveys the exuberant dynamism of a very unfusty Victorian era obsessed with speed, power, publicity, and the breaking of every barrier.
A delightful trifle - solid history, though not wide ranging - filled with energizing details. History lovers will eat it up.
A tad overlong, but entertaining and readable throughout.
Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire
What a story! What an extraordinary historical adventure!
Karen Abbott, author of American Rose
Vividly imagined and gorgeously detailed, Eighty Days recounts the exhilarating journey of two pioneering women, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, as they race around the globe. Matthew Goodman has crafted a fun, fast, page-turning action-adventure that will make you wish you could carry their bags.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by CarolK 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... Read More
Rated of 5
by Darshell S. (Warwick, RI) Eighty Days 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... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sharon P. (Jacksonville, FL) Eighty Days Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisbane's History-Making Race Around the World - Matthew Goodman What a terrific read! I expect very few of today's readers had any knowledge of an around - the - world race between two young women working for competing newspapers in late 1800's New York City.
Each competitor is followed with alternating... Read More
Rated of 5
by Ange 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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
February 8, 2013 would have been Jules Verne's 185th birthday. The acclaimed author is considered the father of science fiction and wrote many novels, some of the most well-known being Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and, of course, Around the World in Eighty Days which plays an important part in Matthew Goodman's Eighty Days.
Two years ago, on Verne's birthday, National Geographic featured 8 modern inventions that are surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly similar to inventions created by Verne himself.
Check them out!
Electric Submarines Captain Nemo, from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, travels the underwater world in Nautilus, his electric submarine, which bears a striking resemblance to the real Alvin, a...
In June 1998, Tori McClure set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. It was a journey that affected her life in unexpected ways for years to come.
In 1998 Rosemary Mahoney took a solo trip down the Nile in a seven-foot rowboat. This is the unforgettable story of her trip down the world's most historic river, overcoming both cultural and natural challenges.
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A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...