Four Books About Adventurous Women

Book cover for Living With Cannibals and Other Women's AdventuresMatthew Goodman, author of “Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-making Race around the World,” arrives in Mid-Missouri today. Inspired by the adventurous journalists he profiles, here is a list of books (and their publishers’ descriptions) featuring other brave, pioneering and bold women in history.

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe” by Cassandra Pybus
In a deeply researched and engagingly written narrative of science, adventure, love and an unprecedented voyage of discovery, Ridley reveals the true story of Jeanne Baret, the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Baret posed as a man to secure the position of assistant to the naturalist aboard France’s first global seafaring expedition in the 1760s.

Living with Cannibals and Other Women’s Adventures” by Michele Slung
The spirit of adventure sweeps through the chapters of this exciting volume as we encounter the inspiring, sometimes tragic, often humorous tales of adventurous women – from the 18th century to the 21st century. Selected from National Geographic’s rich archives, this colorful group portrait pairs female adventurers of the past with their contemporary counterparts – in a “then and now” approach. You’ll meet Arctic explorers – an American heiress who crisscrossed ice fields seven decades ago, along with a celebrated New Zealander who skied alone to both North and South Poles in the 1990s. You’ll also join in the atmospheric exploits of Shannon Lucid and Amelia Earhart as they take off on those daring flights that wrote a new pages in the annals of aviation. Tour the world with women who defied Victorian convention to venture alone among the headhunters of Borneo or to see first hand the hidden corners of Africa, India and Japan.

Book cover for Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean FloorSoundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor” by Hali Felt
A compelling portrait of one of the most interesting “forgotten” women of the twentieth century, the scientist who mapped, for the first time, the ocean floor. Until Marie Tharp’s groundbreaking work in the 1950s, the floor of the ocean was a mystery – then, as now, we knew less about the ocean than we did about outer space. In a time when women in the scientific community were routinely dismissed, Tharp’s work changed our understanding of the earth’s geologic evolution.

The Woman Who Walked to Russia: A Writer’s Search for A Lost Legend” by Cassandra Pybus
From the moment Cassandra Pybus first heard about Lillian Alling’s trek across North America, she couldn’t get the story out of her mind. This is how it went: Desperate with homesickness, Lillian Alling, a recent immigrant to the United States from the Soviet Union, haunted the New York Public Library, studying the atlas to establish the most direct route home to her native Russia. In the spring of 1927, aided only by a hand-drawn map, she started to walk home. Pybus searched for clues about this enigmatic pedestrian. When her historical sleuthing yielded little, she set out on her own trek to trace Lillian’s route through the wilderness of northwestern Canada and subarctic Alaska and Siberia. The result is an entertaining travel narrative that pieces together Alling’s journey through the natural beauty and rich history of northwestern North America – a story never before told.

Want to hear from some local, modern-day adventurous women? Join us for Daring and Adventurous Journeys, a panel presentation moderated by Matthew Goodman himself at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 17 at the Columbia Public Library.

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