When I was young, I couldn’t get enough of Nellie Bly’s muckraking exposés and refusal to be held back because she was a woman. So you can imagine my excitement upon discovering Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World (Ballantine, Feb.), Matthew Goodman’s forthcoming account of Bly’s 1889 race around the world—both against Jules Verne’s fictional Phineas Fogg and against Bisland, another young journalist. It captures the thrill of steam technologies of travel (locomotives and pre-Titanic steamships ) that shifted perceptions of distance and time. Similar in some ways, Elizabeth Bisland and Nellie Bly were remarkably different: one leaned toward intellect and good writing, the other toward daring and a good story; one was amazed by the British Empire, the other disgusted by it; one was comfortable with fame and hype, and the other shunned it at all costs; and one won, while one did not. Goodman showers us with lavish details—of the New York where both women launched their careers, of the ships and trains that carried them away and then home, of Nellie Bly’s encounter with Jules Verne himself in France, and of the rapidly changing world of journalism.