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

On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly 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 another young journalist, 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; Elizabeth Bisland had been born into an aristocratic Southern family 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.

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