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Shortly after I began this book I was giving it a 2 it was okay Then a 3 then a 4, and by the end I knew it was nothing short of amazing a 5 The story as it was told by Glynis Ridley is a 5 star My problem, initially, was I found myself continually questioning the author how could she possibly know this how could she infer that Certainly I felt the author was biased, and I expected to be engulfed in some sort of feminist manifesto about a young herb woman who went to sea as a slave for an elite taskmaster botanist But, the book evolved into an absolutely fascinating story about what in the end I believe was an extraordinary woman I still wonder why Compression the botanist took Baret along and had her dress as a man, so she could be his companion and assistant servant slave on the expedition The ending of the book surprised the heck out of me, and anything else I might say would be a spoiler As a reader I was thrown around a lot like Jeanne Baret on the ship I interacted with this story of the first woman to circumnavigate the globe constantly We learned a fair amount about her life onboard the ship and her life experiences, but I wanted to know so much.Interesting to learn what it was like being onboard a ship in the 18 century with 300 men I was captivated by the crossing the line equator tradition, I wondered about the sexual appetites of the Tahitian women, and felt somehow that view was contrived by the journal authors, so that the blame could be placed on the Tahitians and not the French sailors and officers.Anyway, it was wonderful book, and I would love to see this made into a historical fiction novel Well written, it would be a fantastic, absorbing, unforgettable tale But, to say that , perhaps, is to lessen the research and great work Ridley did Because I made it into a novel in my head anyway I d love to read of Ridley s works, and I will be giving this book as a gift to a few close friends. [[ Free ]] ☈ The Discovery of Jeanne Baret ⇦ The Year Was Eminent Botanist Philibert Commerson Had Just Been Appointed To A Grand New Expedition The First French Circumnavigation Of The World As The Ships 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, Commerson S 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 Ships Decks With Her Obvious Strength And Stamina Less Obvious Were The Strips Of Linen Wound Tight Around Her Upper Body And The Months She Had Spent Perfecting Her Masculine Disguise In The Streets And Marketplaces Of Paris 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 Complicated In The Discovery Of Jeanne Baret, Glynis Ridley Unravels The Conflicting Accounts Recorded By Baret S Crewmates To Piece Together The Real Story How Baret S 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 Baret S Own Hand, That Proves Her Scientific Acumen And The Thousands Of Specimens She Collected, Most Famously The Showy Vine Bougainvillea Ridley Also Richly Explores Baret S Awkward, Sometimes Dangerous Interactions With The Men On The Ship, Including Baret S Lover, The Obsessive And Sometimes Prickly Naturalist A Fashion Plate Prince Who, With His Elaborate Wigs And Velvet Garments, Was Often Mistaken For A Woman Himself The Sour Ship S Surgeon, Who Despised Baret And Commerson Even A Tahitian Islander Who Joined The Expedition And Asked Baret To Show Him How To Behave Like A Frenchman But The Central Character Of This True Story Is Jeanne Baret Herself, A Working Class Woman Whose Scientific Contributions Were Quietly Dismissed And Written Out Of History Until Now Anchored In Impeccable Original Research And Bursting With Unforgettable Characters And Exotic Settings, The Discovery Of Jeanne Baret Offers This Forgotten Heroine A Chance To Bloom At Long Last This is certainly an intriguing story Jeanne Baret was a French peasant herb woman who was also the work collaborator and mistress of botanist Philibert Commerson In 1765 she disguised herself as a man and set sail with Commerson on an expedition to circumnavigate the globe The problem with the book is that there is only a tiny amount of real information about these people and their motivations and what really went on onboard the ship Unfortunately that doesn t stop Ridley from speculating beyond all reasonableness to give her take on the matter Obviously a certain amount of inference is necessary to tell a story about people and events from over 200 years ago But these kinds of books are based on actual facts in the form of letters and diaries In this case there is not one word that was written by Baret herself and only a handful of vague references by anyone else The journal that mentions her the most is completely discounted by Ridley because she doesn t like what he had to say about Baret who she styles as some sort of proto feminist superwoman Ridley constantly speculates on how events might have happened or how Baret might have felt about them and then two paragraphs later states these things as fact.Fascinating subject matter, abysmal journalism. Jeanne Baret was an unusual woman, not just by 18th century standards, but for any time on earth Disguising herself as a man for a 3 year trip around the world in a ship roughly the size of a big townhouse, packed to the gunwales with male sailors, servants and officers was an act of bravery or magical thinking or extreme stupidity We don t know what was in her mind because there are no accounts of her adventure written by her She s been erased from history Until this book Part historical account of French efforts to play catch up to the explorations engaged by other countries, part redemption of Ms Baret s work as an herb woman, part outrage at the way history is handled when women are involved, part denunciation of those involved in protecting their careers by denying Baret s gender, part botany lesson, this book is at times jaw dropping, and other times frustrating Ridley has a tendency to support conjecture about events with ersatz proof taken from fiction set in the 1760s That is her prerogative as a writer, but it does not serve the history The life of Jeanne Baret is fascinating, and we can endlessly speculate what possessed this working class woman to undertake such a perilous adventure I wish we could know. I loved reading about this woman, who was the first to circumnavigate the globe Her life was simply amazing, and although parts of it are so tragically sad, it seems she had a happy ending The fact that her story is known at all is quite miraculous as there are so few primary sources related to her life I wish there were and that the reader could really get to know this amazing woman The author does a good job of piecing together scant information to form this story Some of her information about the protagonist is vague and I feel the author takes some liberties, at times, in interpreting this knowledge.This era of Western discovery is really fascinating to me in general, and there are few stories about women during this historical period, so in that sense this book was gratifying and interesting. This book is about a woman who is poor Then she meets a botanist She teaches him all about herbs They become lovers after his wife dies giving birth She later becomes pregnant He has her give the baby up Then she dresses like a man in order to accompany him on a trip around the world She has to bind her chest and do heavy physical labor She eventually is discovered and gang raped They give this baby up as well Overall, very sad I would not recommend this to people. This was an interesting read, due to the scarcity of source material there s a fair amount of extrapolation That combined with the storytelling format give this of an adventure fiction feel We do have enough of a paper trail to verify that Baret is most probably the first women to sail around the world, between the various accounts and the French government granting her a pension for her achievements.It s an ugly tale, she was a talented herbalist, and yet she was treated like a beast of burden because of her peasant birth French nobility for the most part, deserved having their heads chopped off, to the Bastille When her true sex was revealed, she was also raped and bore a child from that incident She does make it home eventually and finishes off her life in obscurity. If anyone asked me a month ago what I thought about Jeanne Baret, I would not have known who they were talking about However after reading The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley I can now say that Jeanne Baret was quite a woman Jeanne lived in the 1700 s This time in history was not kind to women Woman were thought of as feeble, unintelligent and impassioned Jeanne Baret was none of these things She grew up and lived in France until she met Philibert Commerson and became not only his lover but also his assistant on an expedition to take her across the globe Commerson was a botanist who was enad with Baret and her knowledge of plants When King Louis XV ordered an expedition around the world to gather information about medicinal plants and information that would help France become the leading expert in these areas, he appointed Commerson the prestigious position of working on this voyage Commerson needed someone knowledgeable and hard working to assist him on this journey None other could compare to Baret They devised a plan so that Baret could accompany him on this trip Baret disguised herself as a man She took on the arduous task without complaint She worked harder than most men ever do Her job was back breaking in miserable conditions She tried very hard to hide the fact that she was a woman however she didn t fool everyone and because of that she faced dire consequences The Discovery of Jeanne Baret is a fantastic read I don t have a particular love for botany but I love discovering historical gems Glynis Ridley did a fantastic job with uncovering the mystery of Jeanne Baret She also gives historical background information and explains as to why something is a big deal or what it means for that period of time This is important because today we don t face the same restricting conventions that people faced in the past This book is interesting from cover to cover It s well written and very informative I m so glad I had an opportunity to read this novel If you love history, botany or love reading about people who defy conventions this is a great book to read. Jeanne Baret pretended to be a young man to work as an assistant to botanist Philibert Commerson on a voyage around the world in 1765 Dressed in men s clothes, she spent over two years as the only woman on a French ship The French government was especially interested in plants that were spices or had medicinal value During the sea voyage, Baret did much of the collecting of the specimens since Commerson was suffering from a leg injury.Jeanne Baret was a French peasant herb woman when she met Commerson a few years prior, and taught him about medicinal plants He shared his knowledge of classifications of plants with her, and soon they were living and working together in Paris.I especially enjoyed the descriptions of nature as the ship went through the Straits of Magellan, and during their stop at Tahiti Baret and Commerson left the ship in Mauritius, and researched the island s plants until Commerson s death Baret later married and returned by ship to France.Baret was the first woman to circumnavigate the world, but most people have never heard of her She has never been given credit for the enormous amount of work she did on the ocean voyage collecting and classifying plants that were new to the Western world This book is a well researched book into her life, with many quotes from journals written by the officers on the ship Unfortunately, very little primary source material mentions Baret, although is written about Commerson, because women were not supposed to sail on the ship and women were not usually educated in scientific professions in the 18th Century The book started off a little slow, then picked up as Baret traveled around the world I would recommend this first read book to readers who are interested in history, science, foreign countries, and the achievements of women. I enter a lot of giveaways for a lot of different books, but this one, which I won from Linda at Silly Little Mischief is one that I think is the best win for me It isn t necessary my favorite our of all the books I won But when you compare the likelihood of me discovering it on my own with how much I enjoyed it, the payoff is high.The book is a biographer of Jeanne Baret, a female botanist who dressed as a man, and without much of the world s knowledge became the first woman to circumvent the world I always love reading books where I learn new things, and this was such a book for me.I didn t just learn Jeanne s story, but a brief history of botany, as well as what it was like to sail the world It also did a good job at imagine what it may have been like to discover new lands that Europeans had never discover And one thing I especially loved, was there was a brief part about Peter Piper of the pickled peppers , who I had no idea was a historical figure.But while there was a lot of historical facts, there was not a lot about Jeanne herself Yes, there are a few historical documents that mention her, but so much of the book felt like speculation I would love to be able to know about her, but unfortunately it doesn t look like there is a lot of information We do have a few key facts, but without quite a bit of speculation it is hard to tell her story.Even so I really enjoyed her story as well as the rest of the book Although I would have loved to have had a map included so I could easily trace Jeanne s passage around the world I did see that the author has another historical book, Clara s Grand Tour Travels with a Rhinoceros in Eighteenth Century Europe, which I think I would love as well, and probably should pick up at some point.