Eighty Days

Eighty Days

Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-making Race Around the World

Book - 2013
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On November 14, 1889, two young female journalists raced against one another, determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero and circle the globe in less than 80 days. The dramatic race that ensued would span 28,000 miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345527264
Branch Call Number: 910.4109 Goo
Characteristics: xxiii, 449 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 25 cm.


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Women in History – Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Jane Cochran, better known by her pen name, Nellie Bly, was born on May 5, 1864 in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania. She left school in 1871 due to the lack of funds after her father died. In 1880, her mother moved the family to Pittsburgh for better job opportunities. It was here that Elizabeth would get her start in newspapers. When a local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Dispatch,… (more)

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Apr 28, 2021

I will have to read this! I wrote and performed a monologue about Nellie Bly when I was an 8th grader for a History Day competition.

RandomLibrarian Jul 25, 2019

Review excerpt: "This book would be a fun read for anyone interested in the history of that time period, or for anyone interested in women’s history. It’s also a great travelogue. I must warn the reader that both Bly and Bisland had the prejudices of their day, although they both questioned colonialism. At almost every stop that wasn’t in the US, they saw the British Flag. The author takes the time to introduce at least some perspectives of people such as the Chinese in California who were so crucial to building the railroad, and the stokers in the ocean liners who sometimes went mad from the heat of the coal room and lept into the sea."


Dec 13, 2018

I liked this book. Goodman deftly re-creates the frenzy surrounding Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's infamous race around the world in 1889. While the adventures of Bly, intrepid reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's The World, have survived and been embellished over the last century, genteel literary critic Bisland's story has sadly fallen by the wayside. Goodman corrects that historical omission by interweaving both their journeys as the two women set out in opposite directions, equally committed to the idea of achieving the record for the fastest trip around the world. Inspired by Jules Verne's fantastical Around the World in 80 Days, Bly confidently expected to top the fictional feat of Phileas Fogg. Determined not to be outdone by Pulitzer, Cosmopolitan magazine commissioned Bisland, who set out one day later, to race against both Bly and time in an effort to cross the figurative finish line first. As a riveted world watched, these two women galloped around the globe via fortitude and an array of both modern and old-style transportation. Urge armchair travelers to hop on board as Nellie and Liz strike a blow for both feminism and the burgeoning Victorian travel industry.

Aug 17, 2018

I enjoyed this book very much. The late 19th century/early 20th century is my favourite time period. The advances in industry and transportation makes me think it must have been a very exciting era to live in. My father, who was born in 1922, used to tell me about times he worked on a farm. He walked behind horses to plow farmer's fields. My father saw the world change and advance in so many ways. The story of Nellie Bly and how she obtained the information for her articles was fascinating. It was not something many women did at that time. Many of the people written about in the book provide context to names you still hear about now. For example, Joseph Pulitzer was a newspaper publisher in New York City. Now we hear his name in association with the Pulitzer Prize awarded annually in twenty-one categories. Nellie meets the author Jules Verne who wrote, "Around the World in 80 Days". This book is what inspires Nellie Bly to do her own 'Around the World in 80 Days' story. The scenes the author Matthew Goodman illustrates with words drew me in. I felt like I was there in history visiting old friends. I highly recommend this book.

Jul 12, 2018

This was an interesting book to read. One not only learns of the chronological information of the race between Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, they also learn of their backgrounds, upbringing, and personalities along with what scenery they enjoyed and the people of the countries they encountered. It also mentions what happened to Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland after they finished their races. This is definitely a must-read for those who are curious about history in the making.

Feb 27, 2017

fabulous read! I wanted to be with Nellie so bad, I could almost feel her excitement, fear, hope, and determination every step of the way. I had heard of Nellie Bly but did not know in what context. There is so much about our culture in this book besides the travel- a woman traveling by herself in 1889 is remarkable in so many ways. Her grit and determination to get a job on the newspaper in itself is a monumental achievement. I highly recommend this book to every woman wondering if she should take the next step in her career or whatever her goals are, this will give her the confidence that it is the right thing to do. Also, recommend to anyone who enjoys travel, I am unable to travel so have to do it vicariously and this was very satisfying.

Jan 25, 2016

Excellent little known history of two very adventurous women. Brilliantly written. A great read.

Dec 10, 2014

The author has skillfully interwoven the itineraries of the pair of female travellers and expanded the account by including biographical information, background on railway, steam ship and telegraph technology, and commentary on colonial geography, life and hazards. An annotated global map of the two routes is provided along with segment maps, period photographs, an extensive bibliography and an index.

FW_librarian Nov 05, 2014

A lot of us have heard of Nellie Bly and some of us knew she was a reporter but what kind of reporter and in what period of American journalism history makes this book unique. After reading it, I realized it's not just about the round the world competition of two women reporters and their newspaper publishers but, how they both reacted to the fame. Does it have to do with their background and upbringing? Can anyone of us predict the decisions we may make? Good reading for those of us who travel a lot and need to be reminded that our culture and lifestyle need not be imposed on another.

ChristchurchLib Feb 09, 2014

"Inspired by Jules Verne's fantastic novel Around the World in 80 Days, two rival 19th-century female journalists defied gender stereotypes in a headlong race to complete the fastest trip around the world in 1889. Smartly blending social history and armchair travel, author Matthew Goodman vividly captures the two women's very different personalities against the backdrop of a burgeoning Victorian travel industry that vowed to deliver more of the world, faster, and in more comfort than ever before. For the story of yet another adventuresome, influential, and well-travelled Victorian woman, try Georgina Howell's Daughter of the Desert: The Remarkable Life of Gertrude Bell as a follow-up." Armchair Travel February 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/65a45623-29d8-4930-a050-7045f18b95cf?postId=fbfe1dbc-f888-4b7d-a453-8350c366f628

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Dec 10, 2014

"...the little flat white town [Aden] in the distance, the turbaned figures in the streets, the sailboats moored on the glassy sea beyond could all be clearly made out through the deepening twilight. ... There was nowhere on earth more distant than this, [Bly] knew, no place that could possibly be less like New York. ... Traveling by locomotive and steamship, she had been brought to the past. ..." [p. 258-9]


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