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The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the…

af Robert Whitaker

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5421433,413 (3.59)26
In the early years of the 18th century, a band of French scientists set off on a daring, decade-long expedition to South America in a race to measure the precise shape of the earth. Like Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West, their incredible mission revealed the mysteries of a little-known continent to a world hungry for discovery. Scaling 16,000foot mountains in the Peruvian Andes, and braving jaguars, pumas, insects, and vampire bats in the jungle, the scientists barely completed their mission. One was murdered, another perished from fever, and a third-Jean Godin-nearly died of heartbreak. At the expedition's end, Jean and his Peruvian wife, Isabel Gramesón, became stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon, victims of a tangled web of international politics. Isabel's solo journey to reunite with Jean after their calamitous twenty-year separation was so dramatic that it left all of 18th-century Europe spellbound. Her survival-unprecedented in the annals of Amazon exploration-was a testament to human endurance, female resourcefulness, and the power of devotion.Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers, as well as his own experience retracing Isabel's journey, acclaimed writer Robert Whitaker weaves a riveting tale rich in adventure, intrigue, and scientific achievement. Never before told, The Mapmaker's Wife is an epic love story that unfolds against the backdrop of "the greatest expedition the world has ever known."… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 14 (næste | vis alle)
I read this over a dozen years ago. I only remember that I liked it very much and appreciated all the detail. Quite a journey. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
This book is a combination of so many things - the tale of a scientific expedition, an adventure story, a history of colonialism in South America, an unlikely survival tale - that it's hard to classify it or understand how the author fit so much information in so few pages. It also made me think about how much of my education and reading about history is focused on the English-speaking world - reading this book was like exploring a new world of which I only had the barest outlines. Starting with a French scientific expedition in the 1730s to the equator, this book chronicles the scientific debates and findings and then how members of the expedition remained in South America for years and decades afterwards. And among them were a couple who were separated for nearly twenty years until the wife journeyed through hundreds of miles of dangerous rivers and rainforest to reunite. An amazing story that deserves more attention than history has given it thus afar. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jul 15, 2020 |
Interesting, although the title is a little misleading - much more of the book is devoted to the mapmakers and the history of their expedition than to Isabel herself, although I suppose that's largely because of which historical records were available. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
It's a delightful book, even though the title misrepresents what it really is about. The mapmaker's wife, Isabel Godin, occupies less than half of its pages and, even though her story is a very interesting one, it's part of an even more colourful story of the French Academy of Sciences expedition into the Andes to divine the shape and circumference of the Earth.
Without giving too much away, let me just say that Isabel Godin wasn't a mapmaker's wife, either. She was the wife of one of the assistants to the expedition, one of the younger ones on staff. He was named a ‘geographer’ and given a pension by the king in the end, though.
Those inaccuracies aside, it’s a great book full of interesting historical characters and events, info on the colonial life in South America, science at the age of Enlightenment, and American flora and fauna. Among other things, the book made me ponder the resilience and patience of the people back then. Their life seemed so much more difficult on the plain survival level. Tragedy and hardship were ubiquitous. The pace of the 18th century colonial world seems almost unimaginable to me. Take communication for example. You could have no news from your family for months and sometimes even tens of years if your letters went astray or if the ship they were on fell into pirates’ hands or was lost at sea. The whole expedition took eight years to finish their work… Poor Isabel spent twenty years (19 to be exact) to hear back from her loving husband, who after having traversed the continent was waiting for appropriate papers to take her to France. And then there is her months long harrowing trip down the Andes and down the Amazon, the trip the author of the book duplicated and was amazed at the woman's resilience. ( )
  Niecierpek | Feb 14, 2015 |
More than love, murder, or survival put together, this was a book about science and exploration. I mean, ok and all, sure. It was done in the same tradition as Dava Sobel's books, and there were a lot of parallels (no pun intended, ha!) between this book and Longitude. But, seriously, don't tell me it's about love when love takes up about ten pages. Don't tell me it's about murder when it takes about two seconds to describe the murder. It could just have been about survival in the Amazon & I still would have been interested. ( )
  cat-ballou | Jan 22, 2014 |
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In the early years of the 18th century, a band of French scientists set off on a daring, decade-long expedition to South America in a race to measure the precise shape of the earth. Like Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West, their incredible mission revealed the mysteries of a little-known continent to a world hungry for discovery. Scaling 16,000foot mountains in the Peruvian Andes, and braving jaguars, pumas, insects, and vampire bats in the jungle, the scientists barely completed their mission. One was murdered, another perished from fever, and a third-Jean Godin-nearly died of heartbreak. At the expedition's end, Jean and his Peruvian wife, Isabel Gramesón, became stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon, victims of a tangled web of international politics. Isabel's solo journey to reunite with Jean after their calamitous twenty-year separation was so dramatic that it left all of 18th-century Europe spellbound. Her survival-unprecedented in the annals of Amazon exploration-was a testament to human endurance, female resourcefulness, and the power of devotion.Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers, as well as his own experience retracing Isabel's journey, acclaimed writer Robert Whitaker weaves a riveting tale rich in adventure, intrigue, and scientific achievement. Never before told, The Mapmaker's Wife is an epic love story that unfolds against the backdrop of "the greatest expedition the world has ever known."

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