Following the publication of Jules Verne's novel Around the World in Eighty Days in 1873, Americans had an increasing interest in travel. World travel was becoming even easier with the faster steamships of the day.
In 1888, Nellie Bly, a feisty, investigative reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World newspaper, pitched a story idea of traveling around the world in 75 days to beat the record achieved by Phileas Fogg, the character in Verne's book. While the editor thought it a great idea, he naturally thought the trip should be made by a man. The idea was shelved for over a year.
One day in November 1889, Bly's editor told her the trip against Fogg's time would occur, and she would be the reporter to go - in just two days! She sailed east toward England on 14 November, 1889.
The Cosmopolitan was a rival magazine in New York. Not to be outdone by Pulitizer, the Cosmopolitan editors suddenly decided - seemingly within minutes of Bly's departure - to send their own female reporter, Elizabeth Bisland, on a world trip with the intent to return to New York before Bly. Bisland left that evening on a train going west to San Francisco.
Both reporters wrote detailed accounts of their journeys. For the first time, their writings have been combined in this book so that a consistent timeline is maintained between both women. The listener can feel the urgency and uniqueness of their travels while fully enjoying the similarities and differences in the authors' styles and their experiences.
Who will win the race?
Elizabeth Cochrane adopted the name of the Stephen Foster song Nelly Bly as her pen name. This famous song is performed in the credits by noted musicians Vivian and Phil Williams and is used with their gracious permission. You can hear more of their music at VoyagerRecords.com.
Even if you are uninterested in history or sociology, I'd be willing to bet money that you'll enjoy this!
The original writing was done by Nellie and Elizabeth in 1890. The editor has spliced them together into a coherent whole with dates being the defining factor.
Nellie is a working class young woman who finally gets to take the trip of a lifetime and tries to beat the time of Jules Verne's fictional traveler (See the old movie Around the World in 80 days if you don't want to read the original book) despite objections, delays, and budget by her sneaky newspaper editor. Elizabeth is a more affluent young lady who is coerced into the adventure by her manipulative magazine editor who has attempted to smooth the way and with a far less stringent budget in order to call it a race. Each starts out from New Jersey. Nellie begins her trip by heading to England (where she actually gets to meet Verne and his wife despite going sleepless for 2 nights to do it!). Elizabeth begins by heading west to San Francisco.
Each tells her story from her own perspective and unique personality. Each trip was fantastic at the time, and a rare look into the past of over 125 years ago.
No, you won't hear who had the shortest time from me, and the publisher's summary is sufficient.
The editor has done a marvelous job of intertwining the two narratives into an entertaining and informative whole! The choice of audio performers was absolutely inspired!
No info on who took which character, but both KC and MRF were obviously fully engaged with her character. The voice of Nellie was enthusiastic and bouncy most of the time (not when speaking about mal de mer), and fully represented the tone of the writing. The voice of Elizabeth was reflective of her class and vision of other cultures and classes without coming off as a snob.
Extravagant thanks to AudioBook Blast which presented me with the opportunity to be gifted with this marvelous production!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful