Eminent botanist Philibert Commerson had just been appointed to a grand new expedition: the first French circumnavigation of the world. As the ships' official naturalist, Commerson would seek out resources - medicines, spices, timber, food - that could give the French an edge in the ever-accelerating race for empire. Jeanne Baret, Commerson's young mistress and collaborator, was desperate not to be left behind. She disguised herself as a teenage boy and signed on as his assistant.
"The lost woman of Botany"