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Ridley, Glynis:  THE DISCOVERY OF JEANNE BARET A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe
Book Number: 21652
Crown Publishers New York 2010  A remainder mark on bottom of page edges otherwise A fine copy in fine dustjacket. Postage will be reduced for this book. The year was 1765. Eminent botanist Philibert Commerson had just been appointed to a grand new expedition: the first French circumnavigation of the world. As the shipsí official naturalist, Commerson would seek out resources - medicines, spices, timber, food - that could give the French an edge in the ever-accelerating race for empire. Jeanne Baret, Commersonís young mistress and collaborator, was desperate not to be left behind. She disguised herself as a teenage boy and signed on as his assistant. The journey made the twenty-six-year-old, known to her shipmates as 'Jean' rather than 'Jeanne', the first woman to ever sail around the globe. Yet so little is known about this extraordinary woman, whose accomplishments were considered to be subversive, even impossible for someone of her sex and class. When the ships made landfall and the secret lovers disembarked to explore, Baret carried heavy wooden field presses and bulky optical instruments over beaches and hills, impressing observers on the shipsí decks with her obvious strength and stamina. Expedition commander Louis-Antoine de Bougainville recorded in his journal that curious Tahitian natives exposed Baret as a woman, eighteen months into the voyage. But the true story, it turns out, is more complicated. In The Discovery of Jeanne Baret, Glynis Ridley unravels the conflicting accounts recorded by Baretís crewmates to piece together the real story: how Baretís identity was in fact widely suspected within just a couple of weeks of embarking, and the painful consequences of those suspicions; the newly discovered notebook, written in Baretís own hand, that proves her scientific acumen; and the thousands of specimens she collected, most famously the showy vine bougainvillea.; 240 x 165mm; xiv, 288 pages
Price: $15.00

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