Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman is a book that I read mostly in 2013 and then got distracted by something — possibly this blog. Pay no attention to the gap between my beginning and finishing it. It’s an excellent book, very well written and if you don’t know much about Nellie Bly and nothing about Elizabeth Bisland, which is probably most people, it tells a very interesting story about two young women who a la Jules Verne, traveled around the world as fast as they could. It was Nellie’s idea: she was a newspaper woman of the kind who was always going undercover and investigating, exposing the poor treatment of women, etc. Her paper, The World, sponsored her trip and a contest to guess how long it would take her. A rival publication The Cosmopolitan decided to send their female reporter in a race against Bly. Bisland took this in stride. She was a game gal, if there ever was one. Also refined. She was a published poet and hosted literary salons. Goodman made every aspect of their trip interesting to me.
I would like to say more, it’s all interesting – their backgrounds, their journeys, their lives afterward, but every place I read that says more gives away what happens and if you don’t know, why spoil it for you? Also, probably reading most of it a year and a half ago doesn’t help. All I can say at this point is: highly recommended.