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Round about the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbitby Joyce E. Chaplin
Synopses & Reviews
Highly acclaimed, this first full history of around-the-world travel by Joyce E. Chaplin brilliantly tells the story of circumnavigation. A witty, erudite, and colorful account of the outrageous ambitions that have inspired men and women to circle the entire planet.
For almost five hundred years, human beings have been finding ways to circle the Earth—by sail, steam, or liquid fuel; by cycling, driving, flying, going into orbit, even by using their own bodily power. The story begins with the first centuries of circumnavigation, when few survived the attempt. Starting with Ferdinand Magellan’s dangerous voyage, Joyce Chaplin takes us on a trip of our own as we travel with Francis Drake, William Dampier, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, and James Cook.
As sea travel grew much safer and passengers came on board, circumnavigation became a fad, as captured in Jules Verne’s classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Newspapers sponsored racing contests, and people sought ways to distinguish themselves—by bicycling around the world, for instance, or by sailing solo.
Finally humans took to the skies to circle the globe in airplanes. Not much later, Sputnik, Gagarin, and Glenn pioneered a new kind of circumnavigation—in orbit.
Through it all, the desire to take on the planet has tested the courage and capacity of generations of bold men and women. Their exploits show us why we think of the Earth as home. Round About the Earth is itself a thrilling adventure.
In this first full history of around-the-world travel, Joyce E. Chaplin brilliantly tells the story of circumnavigation. For almost five hundred years, human beings have been finding ways to circle the Earth—by sail, steam, or liquid fuel; by cycling, driving, flying, or going into orbit; even by using their own bodily power. Round About the Earth is a witty, erudite, and colorful account of the outrageous ambitions that have inspired men and women to encircle the planet.
About the Author
Joyce E. Chaplin is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of History at Harvard University. She is the author of four previous books of nonfiction, including The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Science and Technology Category), and winner of the Annibel Jenkins Prize of American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
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