"Eighty Days" by Matthew Goodman

Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days set the imaginations of people running when it was published was in 1873.  At the time, world travel was opening up to everyone and one can only imagine the dreams this book inspired.  Many wondered if the fictional adventures of Phileas Fogg could actually be done.

And so in 1889 a young female reporter for the World newspaper named Nellie Bly set out to break Fogg's record.  She left New York on a steamship heading east, a nation following her every move in the newspaper.  But on the same day that Bly left, so did another young woman, this time on a train heading west.  Elizabeth Bisland was a young journalist for The Cosmopolitan magazine and they wanted to send their own person on this adventure, making it a race for the history books.

Eighty Days: Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman is a fascinating book about the real life Around the World in Eight Days adventure.  Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland were two very different women, working hard to make it in a male-dominated industry and this brought them the opportunity to blaze the trail for women everywhere.

This is a very interesting book.  It's been a while since I have read a good, in-depth historical book and this one covered all of the bases.  While the focus is about the women and their journeys around the world, this book instantly transports you back to the time, giving you an in-depth history of society, culture, America, and the world.

This book took me a lot longer to read than I'm used to.  But this is because it is packed full of information and history and so widespread in its scope that it needs the time to be enjoyed and taken in. I was so inspired by these two women, who I had never heard of before, women who had to fight to be taken seriously in the world of journalism, who took off around the world all on their own.  In an age where we can hop on a plane and be anywhere in the world in a day, it's hard to imagine the journey that these women were taking.  Well-researched and well-written, this book will have you itching to travel yourself.

I read this book right after reading Verne's and I highly recommend doing it this way.  Verne's novel is a classic adventure that will have you wondering if it's really possible or total fiction.  Goodman's book will answer this for you.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Random House of Canada.  The opinions expressed above are my own and I have received no compensation.


  1. This book sounds so good! I love travelogues in general, and with the literary tie-on on this, I should totally check it out.

  2. I can't wait to read this one. I can tell it's right up my alley!

  3. This is interesting, as you said, when you have read Verne's book. I'll do it as you recommend :))
    And yes, it's hard to believe that time ago you couldn't travel in one or two days from one country to another. And for a woman, like these two, it had to be really difficult at that time!


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