Friday, May 4, 2012

Man Woman on the High Seas

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley
I enter a lot of giveaways for a lot of different books, but this one, which I won from Linda at Silly Little Mischief is one that I think is the "best" win for me. It isn't necessary my favorite our of all the books I won. But when you compare the likelihood of me discovering it on my own with how much I enjoyed it, the payoff is high.

The book is a biographer of Jeanne Baret, a female botanist who dressed as a man, and without much of the world's knowledge became the first woman to circumvent the world. I always love reading books where I learn new things, and this was such a book for me.

I didn't just learn Jeanne's story, but a brief history of botany, as well as what it was like to sail the world. It also did a good job at imagine what it may have been like to discover new lands that Europeans had never discover. And one thing I especially loved, was there was a brief part about Peter Piper (of the pickled peppers), who I had no idea was a historical figure.

But while there was a lot of historical facts, there was not a lot about Jeanne herself. Yes, there are a few historical documents that mention her, but so much of the book felt like speculation. I would love to be able to know more about her, but unfortunately it doesn't look like there is a lot of information. We do have a few key facts, but without quite a bit of speculation it is hard to tell her story.

Even so I really enjoyed her story as well as the rest of the book. (Although I would have loved to have had a map included so I could easily trace Jeanne's passage around the world.) I did see that the author has another historical book, Clara's Grand Tour: Travels with a Rhinoceros in Eighteenth-Century Europe, which I think I would love as well, and probably should pick up at some point.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!


  1. I agree it wasn't something I'd pick up on my own but full of interesting information.

  2. Like both of you I don't think I'd ever pick this out at a store but it sounds great! I'm a closeted history buff, but only in the way of liking the quirky, personal stories, not the whole big picture history. So this sounds like it'd be great for me since it's her story! Have a great weekend!

  3. That does sound like an interesting story!

  4. Just found your blog via Kelli's "Make Friends." I'm now a long time New Yorker who went from New England to Nashville many years ago.

    Enjoyed your review!