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Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

5 STARS I have heard the name Nellie Bly before but did not kno

5 STARS

I have heard the name Nellie Bly before but did not know anything about her or her famous race around the world. Matthew Goodman did a good job making it feel alive. The back of the book is around 75 pages of acknowledgments,notes and sources of where he got hi...
5 STARS

I have heard the name Nellie Bly before but did not know anything about her or her famous race around the world. Matthew Goodman did a good job making it feel alive. The back of the book is around 75 pages of acknowledgments,notes and sources of where he got his information from.

A few days ago I got a surprise in the mail copy of Matthew Goodman's book Eighty days and a copy of Jules Verne book Around the world in eighty days. Which I have heard of but have not read. I am not sure how come I recieved the books. I enter a lot of contests,get books from Librarything,goodreads and Netgalley. I later got a digital copy of Eight Days so I was reading from book to listening on my kindle to reading the book. Either way the story was interesting. I would love to be able to do that even today. Except I would be more like Elizabeth and take more than one dress. Okay I would take pants.

I think the book showed up both the good and some not so favorable sides of both Nellie and Elizabeth.

Nellie got the idea to beat Phileas Fogg from Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. A year before her trip. The World Newspaper turned her down than. They decided with two days notice to send her.

The Cosmopolitan Magazine owner decided to make a race of it and send his own reporter in a race going the oppisite direction. Elizabeth Bisland did not want to go. Just given hours to leave. Nellie was almost done with racing against the clock when she found out that thier was another reporter she was in a race against. Which is not fair to her.
One thing that Nellie got to do was to meet Jules Verne in his home. The race against his fictional character Fogg made his book sell even more copies and the play about hs book was produced again 11 years after it was closed the last time. I know now that I plan to read Around the World in Eighty Days and other Jules Verne fiction.

I learned a lot about how different people lived back than and how they traveled. So many things I have picked up that I had no clue about. That England fought a war to make China to let in Opium that they wanted to ship in China to make up trade decifit that they want against Tea

02/26/2013 PUB. Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine 480 pages ISBN 9780345527264

posted by rhonda1111RL on February 27, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Eighty Days - Potentially very interesting book about the two fe

Eighty Days - Potentially very interesting book about the two female journalists who traveled around the globe at the same time (unaware of each other), in the 1800s. What started as an innovative idea, became a competition when another. It was fun to vicariously travel...
Eighty Days - Potentially very interesting book about the two female journalists who traveled around the globe at the same time (unaware of each other), in the 1800s. What started as an innovative idea, became a competition when another. It was fun to vicariously travel, envisioning the cultures of the countries visited. The only criticism I would level is that when a book is almost 500 pages long, you have to be exceedingly interested in the subject; it could have benefited from being more succinct. Mr. Goodman goes down too many "rabbit trails" in this book. I was beginning to think it was going to take eighty days to finish reading it! ; ) For just one example, it's interesting to know a little about Joseph Pulitzer, who owned Nellie Bly's newspaper, but did we really need to know the minute structural details of the interior of his house? Other similar diversions go on for so long, that it really gets one bogged down and distracted, and tempts one to give up on the book ever returning to its mission! If you stick it out, you'll learn a lot, and you'll realize that as the old saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I won't give away the ending, no spoilers from me! - but suffice it to say that the winning journalist would today be on the cover of "People" (c), would be doing television spots for all manner of products etc. And the equivalent is just what happened; it was fasinating to read about her popularity. You end up feeling a bit of sympathy for the "also-ran," but then again, there can only be one winner. The author may be more of a winner himself, if in the future he limits his digressions!




posted by PierresFamily on April 22, 2013

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  • Posted February 27, 2013

    5 STARS I have heard the name Nellie Bly before but did not kno

    5 STARS

    I have heard the name Nellie Bly before but did not know anything about her or her famous race around the world. Matthew Goodman did a good job making it feel alive. The back of the book is around 75 pages of acknowledgments,notes and sources of where he got his information from.

    A few days ago I got a surprise in the mail copy of Matthew Goodman's book Eighty days and a copy of Jules Verne book Around the world in eighty days. Which I have heard of but have not read. I am not sure how come I recieved the books. I enter a lot of contests,get books from Librarything,goodreads and Netgalley. I later got a digital copy of Eight Days so I was reading from book to listening on my kindle to reading the book. Either way the story was interesting. I would love to be able to do that even today. Except I would be more like Elizabeth and take more than one dress. Okay I would take pants.

    I think the book showed up both the good and some not so favorable sides of both Nellie and Elizabeth.

    Nellie got the idea to beat Phileas Fogg from Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. A year before her trip. The World Newspaper turned her down than. They decided with two days notice to send her.

    The Cosmopolitan Magazine owner decided to make a race of it and send his own reporter in a race going the oppisite direction. Elizabeth Bisland did not want to go. Just given hours to leave. Nellie was almost done with racing against the clock when she found out that thier was another reporter she was in a race against. Which is not fair to her.
    One thing that Nellie got to do was to meet Jules Verne in his home. The race against his fictional character Fogg made his book sell even more copies and the play about hs book was produced again 11 years after it was closed the last time. I know now that I plan to read Around the World in Eighty Days and other Jules Verne fiction.

    I learned a lot about how different people lived back than and how they traveled. So many things I have picked up that I had no clue about. That England fought a war to make China to let in Opium that they wanted to ship in China to make up trade decifit that they want against Tea

    02/26/2013 PUB. Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine 480 pages ISBN 9780345527264

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Ground-breaking women journalists, a new era in the technology o

    Ground-breaking women journalists, a new era in the technology of transport, biting commentary on class divisions in the Victorian Era, not to mention the unconscious bigotry that lurked beneath the world of Colonialism-- all of these are here, and illuminating, but none of them takes the readers away from a really fascinating story about two women, one exciting race (with all its ups and downs), and how they (in particular, Bly) captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands. Impressively researched, but again, only in the service of making the story even more fun. I enjoyed every bit of it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2013

    What a great trip!

    Eighty Days was a fascinating account of transportation and selected cultures of the 1890s. I particularly enjoyed accounts of rail and ship travel. I had heard of Nellie Bly, but did not realize she attempted to best Fileous Fogg’s 80 day record. I had never heard of Elizabeth Bisland. Matthew Goodman’s detailed coverage of their progress along the way was excellent. One section I particularly enjoyed was the account of Nellie Bly meeting Jules Verne in France. It was fascinating to get a candid view of the real man behind those wonderful stories. The Eighty Days storyline provides significant information to both lady’s lives after the race, which gives superb closure to a most interesting story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2013

    I enjoyed every delicious moment of reading Eighty Days: Nellie

    I enjoyed every delicious moment of reading Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman. 

    Scrappy journalist Nellie Bly is a role model for all women who desire to make their way in a “man’s profession,” and who make a way for themselves when none is provided. Writer and autodidact Elisabeth Bisland loved English literature, and that love seemed to enable her to richly enjoy her surroundings as she traveled from British port to British port in her circumnavigation.

    This nonfiction work of history reads like an adventure novel. It is thoroughly researched, and each direct quote is well documented in the copious note. The book is rich in detail and filled with background history. Goodman’s research is astonishing. I hope he gets the Pulitzer Prize in History. 

    The book is saturated history. Some may tire of learning about the expansion of the railroad, or moan at the descriptions of the virginal West, but I find historical details to be delicious treats along the journey with Nellie and Elizabeth.

    For me, it was delightful to consider the widening of America (and the world) with the coming of steam engines, trains, and the telegraph. Goodman presents rich insights about both the Irish and Chinese immigrant populations used to build the railway.  His description of the Chinese death camp was gruesome, but drew back a curtain on an entirely new culture for Nellie Bly. 

    The Opium wars were explained clearly by Goodman. It’s too bad that Nellie Bly did not take the time to inform her readers about this rich and tragic history. I was surprised that Nellie seemed to lose her reporter’s ear and her drive while slogging around the world. Imagine how colorfully she could have written about the ship’s crew, the uniqueness of the Chinese and the Japanese, and the loneliness of travel!

    There are many memorable scenes in the book, but my favorite was Nellie’s encounter with Jules Verne and his wife.

    I’ve traveled internationally solo and loved it. Reading this book made me long for more travel. And isn’t that what an excellent travel book is designed to do?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 22, 2013

    Eighty Days - Potentially very interesting book about the two fe

    Eighty Days - Potentially very interesting book about the two female journalists who traveled around the globe at the same time (unaware of each other), in the 1800s. What started as an innovative idea, became a competition when another. It was fun to vicariously travel, envisioning the cultures of the countries visited. The only criticism I would level is that when a book is almost 500 pages long, you have to be exceedingly interested in the subject; it could have benefited from being more succinct. Mr. Goodman goes down too many "rabbit trails" in this book. I was beginning to think it was going to take eighty days to finish reading it! ; ) For just one example, it's interesting to know a little about Joseph Pulitzer, who owned Nellie Bly's newspaper, but did we really need to know the minute structural details of the interior of his house? Other similar diversions go on for so long, that it really gets one bogged down and distracted, and tempts one to give up on the book ever returning to its mission! If you stick it out, you'll learn a lot, and you'll realize that as the old saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I won't give away the ending, no spoilers from me! - but suffice it to say that the winning journalist would today be on the cover of "People" (c), would be doing television spots for all manner of products etc. And the equivalent is just what happened; it was fasinating to read about her popularity. You end up feeling a bit of sympathy for the "also-ran," but then again, there can only be one winner. The author may be more of a winner himself, if in the future he limits his digressions!




    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent history!

    Excellent history, that keeps pace with the race itself, showing the world from the viewpoints of two very different ladies--and the effect that single trip has on them for the remainder of their lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Treasure hunt

    Fishy second result

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    An enjoyable read

    This was a very well written piece of history that is not one of those big important moments but a glimpse into the life of two newspaper writers and the industry that spawned this race around the world. But it also demonstrates the great prejudice that was in the male only jungle of the newspaper business.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2013

    Very well researched and written. I could not put it down, only

    Very well researched and written. I could not put it down, only partly because I found it in the cruise ship's library two days before the end of the cruise.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    Great Story

    I love the story of these two "plucky" women who helped change the way women were viewed in the workplace. It's a great way to learn about History, but I feel the author gets bogged down in details that don't add to the story line.

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  • Posted May 18, 2013

    Excellent book! History that reads like fiction. I enjoyed all t

    Excellent book! History that reads like fiction. I enjoyed all the details that brought the time period to life. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Great Story!

    Although familiar with the name Nellie Bly, I was quickly drawn into this great adventure of two pioneering women journalists. I enjoyed Goodman's writing style and insights into each woman's perceptions and reactions to their experience.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Very, very boring.

    I was very excited to read this book unfortunately I found it very boring. Thought it would be very exciting but it was not in the least.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Great Read

    Fascinating story not only about amazing journeys but wonderful insights into these women's lives. I had heard the name Nellie Bly but had never heard this story. Perhaps if more things like this were included in history books, students would find the subject more interesting!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Educational as well as an entertaining story. Enjoying the adventures as seen through these 2 courageous women!

    I don't read non fiction as often as I feel I should, gave this a try and have been thoroughly delighted. What an adventure this book gives the reader. I highly recommend it to everyone!

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  • Posted March 26, 2013

    Wonderful book -- author did a great job of putting readers into the shoes of the two main characters

    I had, of course, heard the name Nellie Bly and had some vague recollection that she went on an around-the-world trip back in the late 19th Century. I had never heard the name Elizabeth Bisland. But Eighty Days filled in all the blanks. Although “the race” is the focus of Eighty Days, the author also enlightens readers on the state of journalism, world travel, and women reporters in 1889. I read a review of the book in Columbia Journalism Review that called this “padding,” but I call it “context,” something I always appreciate in a work of history and find positive rather than negative. I’m not sure anyone could have found more polar opposites than Bly and Bisland, even though they both female, came from modest backgrounds and were roughly the same age. The trip was Nellie’s idea and it took awhile for her editor at the New York World to OK it. And Miss Bisland didn’t get into the race until after Nellie was merrily on her way on an eastern route. The editor of the Cosmopolitan monthly magazine decided that he, too, would have a woman reporter travel round the world – and try to beat the fictional Phileas Fogg’s time of 80 days just as Miss Bly was – and strong-armed Miss Bisland into it in the opposite direction. It was surprising to me that neither woman was telegraphing stories to their publications from “the road.” I guess they had enough to juggle what with toting bags – and later MissBly’s monkey – and trying to make it to the boat or train that would carry them to their next stopping-off point on time. Today such a race (short though hit would be) would be blogged about ad nauseum. I thought Eighty Days was a wonderful book and that Matthew Goodman did a great job of putting readers into the shoes of the two main characters and take them back in time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

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    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 2, 2013

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    Posted March 26, 2013

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    Posted December 11, 2013

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