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Eighty days : Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's history-making race around the world
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Women journalists
Race against time
Victorian society
New York City, New York - Mid-Atlantic States (U.S.)
- International
Time Period
1889 -- 19th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

In November 1889, two young women reporters, Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, one backed by a newspaper and the other by a monthly periodical, set off on a race to see who could make it first around the world. No one had actually beaten the fictional 80 days set by Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's 1873 novel. Bly went east, Bisland west. Bly won, though there were allegations of fraud. (In France, a mysterious travel agent gave Bisland misleading directions, delaying her passage by several days.) In the interest of efficient travel, neither of the young women could do much en route except eat, sleep, and scurry from conveyance to conveyance as they traveled around the world at a dizzying pace. Goodman writes exceedingly well, producing an engaging book in which he manages as best he can to maintain a level of excitement by including fascinating contextual information on a number of topics, especially the barriers facing women who sought to break out of the mold of feminine acquiescence in the 1890s. VERDICT A delightful trifle-solid history, though not wide ranging-filled with energizing details. History lovers will eat it up.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Two pioneering women hurtle across the globe-and into a changing future-in this stimulating true-life adventure story. Historian Goodman (The Sun and the Moon) follows the 1889 voyages of Nellie Bly, a New York World reporter who embarked on a headline-grabbing assignment to circumnavigate the world in a record-setting 75 days, emulating Jules Verne's novel Around the World in 80 Days, and Elisabeth Brisland, a literary essayist press-ganged by her magazine's owner into racing Bly around the world in the opposite direction. Goodman vividly recreates their stormy, sea-sick travels and exotic Eastern ports of call while examining the revolutionary 19th-century culture of journeying: the proliferating webs of railways and luxury steamships; the swaggering might of the British Empire that guaranteed safe passage; Westerners' sense of wonder at encountering unfamiliar peoples-and their casually bigoted sense of entitlement to rule over them. He also draws fascinating portraits of two self-made women who captured America's imagination by defying its gender stereotypes. (When her editors balked at sending a woman, Bly vowed to beat any man sent in her place.) 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. Photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER <br> <br> 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 day--and 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.<br>  <br> 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.<br>  <br> 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 word--were not only racing around the world. They were also racing through the very heart of the Victorian age.<br> <br> Praise for Eighty Days <br>   <br> "What a story! What an extraordinary historical adventure!" --Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire <br>   <br> "A fun, fast, page-turning action-adventure . . . the exhilarating journey of two pioneering women, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, as they race around the globe." --Karen Abbott, author of American Rose <br>   <br> "[A] marvelous tale of adventure . . . The story of these two pioneering women unfolds amid the excitement, setbacks, crises, missed opportunities and a global trek unlike any other in its time. . . . Why would you want to miss out on the incredible journey that takes you to the finish line page after nail-biting page?" -- Chicago Sun-Times (Best Books of the Year) <br>   <br> "In a stunning feat of narrative nonfiction, Matthew Goodman brings the nineteenth century to life, tracing the history of two intrepid journalists as they tackled two male-dominated fields--world travel and journalism--in an era of incredible momentum. Jules Verne, train and ship travel, and international snapshots are included as Goodman laces biography with history in a book that has something for everyone." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
Table of Contents
Prologuep. xiii
Chapter 1A Free American Girlp. 3
Chapter 2The Newspaper Gods of Gothamp. 17
Chapter 3The Secret Cupboardp. 40
Chapter 4"How Quick Can a Woman Go Around the World?"p. 57
Chapter 5"I Think Can Beat Phileas Fogg's Record"p. 69
Chapter 6Living by Railroad Timep. 92
Chapter 7A Map of the Worldp. 116
Chapter 8"Et Ego in Arcadia"p. 139
Chapter 9Baksheeshp. 161
Chapter 10An English Market Town in Chinap. 184
Chapter 11"The Guessing Match Has Begun in Beautiful Earnest"p. 197
Chapter 12The Other Woman Is Going to Winp. 215
Chapter 13The Temple of the Deadp. 235
Chapter 14The Mysterious Travel Agentp. 255
Chapter 15The Special Trainp. 282
Chapter 16"From Jersey to Jersey Is Around the World"p. 307
Chapter 17Father Time Outdonep. 324
Epiloguep. 355
Acknowledgmentsp. 377
Notesp. 381
Selected bibliographyp. 415
Illustration creditsp. 425
Indexp. 427
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