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For the past 500 years, human beings have been finding ways to circle the Earth--by sail, steam, or overland; by flying, going into orbit; walking and by cycling.
Chaplin begins her account in the first centuries of circumnavigation, when few survived the attempt. We meet an array of bold figures who forged the way forward: from Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, and James Cook, through the fictional Phileas Fogg, who did it in eighty days, on to those who vied for titles and records and prizes for being first at something. Circling the globe became a popular sport through momentous innovations--first the railroad (on land), the steamship (luxury), the airplane (speed), and ultimately spacecraft (otherworldly).
Joyce Chaplin's exciting narrative brings alive the stories of the "globestruck." From whatever distance, however far, what they had and have in common is the fierce desire to return to earth.
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