HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of…
Loading...

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the… (2010)

by Glynis Ridley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10914110,750 (4.02)2
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This is the story of Jeanne Baret, a young woman who, disguised as a man, joined a French expedition in 1765 and became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. She was the mistress of the expedition's offical naturalist, Philibert Commerson, and, crucially, had a lot of botanical knowledge herself due to her profession as a herb woman. She contributed a lot to Commerson's success, a contribution which went competely unacknowledged. Her life among some 300-odd men on board must have been incredibly hard and it seems her identity was suspected early on. However, although I'm not denying Baret's undoubted achievements, and despite the author's constant efforts to make me like her subject, I could not find much sympathy for her. Baret abandoned her newborn son at an orphanage, chosing her lover over her child, and no matter how much the author tried to gloss this over, it tainted the story for me.

That aside, this is a scholarly examination of an expedition, it's background and the emerging natural sciences. There is an incredible amount of information about the times, the customs, the age of sail and science and I certainly learned a lot. If you're looking for a swashbuckling adventure story you will be disappointed.

The book includes a comprehensive bibliography, however the notes are brief and not annotated, which I found disappointing. As there is very little known about Jeanne Baret, there is necessarily a lot of supposition and it isn't always clear which is which. Overall, it was an informative and interesting read. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
“The Discovery of Jeanne Baret” (Crown Publishers, 2010), by Glynis Ridley, describes another fearless woman. Jeanne Baret became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. To do that, she disguised herself as the male assistant to a plant-hunter – also her lover – and they both sailed on a French vessel under the command of French admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville. Readers who’d like to find out how that journey went, will have to read Ridley’s book. All I will tell you for now is that during that voyage, Jeanne, a self-taught botanist herself, discovered a vine we now call bougainvillea. ( )
  svetlanagrobman | Mar 2, 2015 |
One of those little gems you stumble upon occassionally without any prior warning, but turn out to be so enriching. A really gripping tale of a young woman in 18th century France, intelligent and desperate for learning, but prevented by her sex and lowly station in life from ever fulfilling her potential. So she seizes her chance when the wealthy dilettante whose mistress she has become is offered a position upon a major scientific expedition to the South Seas. She disguises herself as a boy and boards the ship as her lover's assistant and embarks on a voyage a woman in that time could only dream about. She pays a high price for her temerity. predictably perhaps, her imposture is discovered, and she is raped by a group of sailors, which results in her becoming pregnant. But she survives the voyage and makes her way home, and lives to a ripe old age. A really amazing, and well-written story about someone that very few people will have ever heard about. Highly recommended. ( )
  drmaf | Aug 6, 2013 |
Any non-fiction book that tells the story of an unknown (to me) and unusual historical character and fascinating history of something we all take for granted - - - gets a 5 star rating !
Not only for Ms. Baret, but the story of botany, ship voyages.
These are my cryptic notes - made to help my memory of some facts:

Herbal woman-rural France-met Commerson, became his ‘live-in’ & aid/co-worker.
Philibert Commerson has passion for Botany - Naturalist
works with Swedish Linneaus who created nomenclature for species, etc
Louis Antoine de Bougainville - French circumnavigation in 1766–1769

Baret disguised as man aboard ship (illegal for women) - was his ‘beast of burden’ Much thought that her gender was “known” ? but . . . claims to be ‘eunuch’
They end up in the captain’s quarters (ease of storing plants - Capt. closer to sailors) so easier to conceal
Rio, Straits of Magellan, Tahiti - at some point a gang-rape becomes pregnant - has child while she and Commerson stay in Mauritius
supposedly to help another French settlement Botanist
He dies, she marries army member
Gets passage back to France - claims inheritance from Commerson
and later gets a pension (equal to what Commerson would have gotten)
lives out life in small town

( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
A profoundly annoying book. Great story - the first woman on record to sail around the world, Jeanne Baret disguised herself as a man and did not just accompany her lover Commerson on Bouganville's voyage of discovery, she worked as hard or harder than most of the expedition as a botanist's assistant. It appears however that the records are scanty and Ridley fills the gaps with great screeds of guesswork, including what the characters were thinking and feeling, much of which seems anachronistic to me. I feel that this would've been better as a novel with an epilogue explaining what is known about our heroine. (Reminded me rather of "The Stolen Woman" which suffers from the same speculative structure). Read it if you are interested in the story but read it with a grain of salt... ( )
  Figgles | Mar 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
40 wanted1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.02)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5 1
3 4
3.5 1
4 8
4.5 1
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 103,051,736 books! | Top bar: Always visible