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Around the World: 08/05/15
Around the World by Matt Phelan is a graphic novel style account of three different late 19th century trips around the world: by bicycle, for the news, and by ship. These are all mini-biographies with the emphasis being on the journeys they took and how those journeys were transformative for the travelers and for the people they met.
The first biography is of Thomas Stevens, a man who became so enamored with the bicycle (and not the modern safety style, but the old high wheeler) that he took his on a ride around the world. Stevens saw the bicycle as a tool for peace and certainly had enough positive experiences to give some weight to that notion.
The next biography covers Nellie Bly's successful attempt to recreate the journey in Around the World in 80 Days but in less time. She had her own problems mostly from resistance because she was a woman traveling alone, and from other newspapers sending competition after her (on higher budgets, meaning they could bribe their way into faster slots), and her own sea sickness and hatred of early mornings. She did however have the brains and stubbornness to accomplish the trip, and the affection of her readers, meaning even if she couldn't bribe her way, she didn't need to.
The last biography is a nautical one. It follows Joshua Slocum who one day said goodbye to his family and set off in his ship for a one man sailing adventure in a time when there wasn't radio or modern day tracking devices. Through personal peril he managed to become the first person to solo sail around the world.
This book has been on my wishlist since it was first published. It lived up to all my expectations and frankly surpassed them. I hope Matt Phelan continues to do these occasional biographies / historical fiction graphic novels along with the many picture books he illustrates.