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The book is non-fiction detailing the life of a French peasant woman who was the first woman known to circumnavigate the world in the mid 1700's. The book is well-written and researched. The information was based on log books of Captain Bougainvillea, and contemporary biographies by people who were present on board. Unfortunately Baret wrote nothing of her work or life. She became knowledgeable about plants and herbs and came to the attention of renowned botanist Philibert Commerson and became his assistant. She disguised as a man to accompany Commerson on his world trip. It is possible that the first European to observe the plant was Jeanne Baret and Commerson named it after the Captain of the ship "Bougainvillea". I will never look at this plant again without thinking of Baret.
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I love true tales of adventure and exploration and this one did not disappoint. That the subject was a woman was one of the deciding factors for me to listen to this book. The story of her life, from her impoverished childhood to her relationship with the eccentric naturalist,Commerson, and her botanical discoveries (including the Bougainville) during her voyage on the Etoile is both exceptional and heart breaking. It is inspiring that Jeanne Baret managed to accomplish what she did, under the shadow of men (also disguised as a man) and tormented by the hostility and degredation of the male sailors aboard the ship. She was truly unique (if not controversial) and remarkable woman!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful