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The New York Times Book ReviewJoyce E. Chaplin faces a challenge in Round About the Earth. She's written a 535-page history of circumnavigation…which is to say the history of a highly conceptual and antiquated exploit. We all sense that encircling the planet is—or was—quite a feat. But a feat of what, exactly? Today it's possible to book a round-the-world air ticket simply by tapping a smartphone. After Magellan's expedition did it the first time, one wonders if there's any sense in recording all those who came after. Chaplin would argue that there is. And she does so with a storyteller's brevity and dry wit in this captivating account of world-rounding expeditions.