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

Extended Audio Sample Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World Audiobook, by Matthew Goodman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 5 3.67 (12 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Goodman Narrator: Kathe Mazur Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9780385359719
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On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day, and heading in the opposite direction by train, was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span twenty-eight thousand miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors’ lives forever.

The two women were a study in contrasts. Nellie Bly was a scrappy, hard-driving, ambitious reporter from Pennsylvania coal country who sought out the most sensational news stories, often going undercover to expose social injustice. Genteel and elegant, Elizabeth Bisland had been born into an aristocratic Southern family, preferred novels and poetry to newspapers, and was widely referred to as the most beautiful woman in metropolitan journalism. Both women, though, were talented writers who had carved out successful careers in the hypercompetitive, male-dominated world of big-city newspapers. Eighty Days brings these trailblazing women to life as they race against time and each other, unaided and alone, ever aware that the slightest delay could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

A vivid real-life re-creation of the race and its aftermath, from its frenzied start to the nail-biting dash at its finish, Eighty Days is history with the heart of a great adventure novel. Here’s the journey that takes us behind the walls of Jules Verne’s Amiens estate, into the back alleys of Hong Kong, onto the grounds of a Ceylon tea plantation, through storm-tossed ocean crossings and mountains blocked by snowdrifts twenty feet deep, and to many more unexpected and exotic locales from London to Yokohama. Along the way, we are treated to fascinating glimpses of everyday life in the late nineteenth century, an era of unprecedented technological advances, newly remade in the image of the steamship, the railroad, and the telegraph. For Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, two women ahead of their time in every sense of the word, were not only racing around the world. They were also racing through the very heart of the Victorian age.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What a story! What an extraordinary historical adventure!”

    Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire

  • “Lively and vivid…Goodman is a master storyteller, with no agenda to push, and his armchair tour is a treat to read.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • “In his delightful, well-researched book…Matthew Goodman brings to life the two women, the complicated, fast-changing times, and the way the whole country was swept up in their parallel adventures. This is fully documented history, drawing on contemporary accounts, letters, and the women’s own writing, but Goodman crafts it into a page-turner.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “In this exciting new book, [Goodman] recounts the travels and travails of two self-made feminists, stirring us in the new millennium, just as their accounts of their adventures did in the nineteenth century.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Deftly mixing social history into an absorbing travel epic, Goodman conveys the exuberant dynamism of a very unfusty Victorian era obsessed with speed, power, publicity, and the breaking of every barrier.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Armchair travel at its best.”

    Library Journal

  • “A richly detailed double narrative of the adventures of two young women journalists in a race against time.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “[Eighty Days] is a dazzling tour of the world at a time when travel routes were just opening up; a look at sensationalist journalism and pop culture in pre-Kardashian America; and a testimony to how hard women had to fight to get work and achieve respect as journalists.”


  • “A fully satisfying portrait of the era.”


  • “Matthew Goodman takes readers on a riveting ride back to 1889 for the original amazing race…Goodman’s eighteen months of meticulous research and his compelling narrative nonfiction bring their stories to life in vivid period detail.”

    American Way

  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book for February 2013
  • Selected for the March 2013 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane Greiner | 1/27/2014

    " This author has written this non-fiction account of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland with fluidity. It read like a novel. With many interesting facts along the way, it brought to light a historical event that many people probably never heard of, especially in current times. Matthew Goodman's writing style lends itself well to making an enjoyable non-fiction read, even for those people who normally wouldn't pick up non-fiction material. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 1/25/2014

    " This book explores a subject I knew nothing about when I picked it up, but it's a fascinating one. Two adventuresome, gutsy Victorian ladies set off on an around-the-world race that was documented within their society. The subject is fascinating. The story, which sticks more to facts than fanciful imaginings of the characters involved, reads like a documentary or biography. It isn't dry, per se, but it's a third person narration. That's not to say that Bly and Bisland don't come alive on the page- they do! But it isn't a quick read. I recommend it for lovers of truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories, Victoriana, women (Bly and Bisland are inspiring in their fearlessness and practicality), and history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 1/16/2014

    " Really enjoyed this true story of two female journalists in the late 19th Century. An interesting glimpse into the times. Read it with my Mom. When we were halfway through, we were halfway around the world. A wonderful trip! Definitely time well spent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Farabaugh | 12/27/2013

    " I very much enjoyed this book. The author did a great job of balancing out the two stories and really kept you guessing as to who was going to win the race. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachael Thomas | 12/24/2013

    " So disappointed with this one. Dry, dry, dry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen Behling | 12/3/2013

    " The more I read, the less I liked these women. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen Freeman | 10/29/2013

    " For me this was a very interesting read. I had not heard of either Nellie Bly or Elizabeth Brisland before hearing about this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 9/20/2013

    " Interesting in terms of women in history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Mondori | 6/30/2013

    " Fun and engaging, and in the end the less competitive introvert had the more fulfilling life. Sometimes a bit repetitive, as the two women were following the same route in opposite directions, but I suppose that was inevitable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Candyce Ragan | 6/8/2013

    " Very good from an historical perspective. Lots of fun facts you might not have known. Also great insight into both of these individuals. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 3/7/2013

    " Enjoyable -- great descriptions of the places these two woman visited during their world tour. Sometimes I found myself racing through, like I was on the race, and had to slow down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawna | 3/4/2013

    " The story itself is amazing, and the women are interesting. My only complaint is that I had a hard time with the repetitiveness of the author. "

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About the Author

Matthew Goodman received an MFA from Vermont College. His nonfiction writing has appeared in The Forward, American Scholar, Harvard Review, Brill’s Content, and Utne Reader. His short stories have appeared in such literary journals as the Georgia Review, New England Review, and Witness. He has been a fellow at both the MacDowall and Yaddo writer’s colonies. He is a lifetime New Yorker and lives in New York City with his wife and children.

About the Narrator

Kathe Mazur has narrated many audiobooks, winning the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2014, being named a finalist for the Audie Award in 2013 and 2015, and winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she can be seen as DDA Hobbs on The Closer and in the upcoming Major Crimes. She has worked extensively in film, theater, and television, including appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Brothers and Sisters, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, ER, Monk, and many others.