The Mapmaker's Wife

The Mapmaker's Wife

A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon

Book - 2004
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In the early years of the 18th century, a band of French scientists set off on a daring, decade-long expedition to South America in a race to measure the precise shape of the earth. Like Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West, their incredible mission revealed the mysteries of a little-known continent to a world hungry for discovery. Scaling 16,000foot mountains in the Peruvian Andes, and braving jaguars, pumas, insects, and vampire bats in the jungle, the scientists barely completed their mission. One was murdered, another perished from fever, and a third-Jean Godin-nearly died of heartbreak. At the expedition's end, Jean and his Peruvian wife, Isabel Gramesón, became stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon, victims of a tangled web of international politics. Isabel's solo journey to reunite with Jean after their calamitous twenty-year separation was so dramatic that it left all of 18th-century Europe spellbound. Her survival-unprecedented in the annals of Amazon exploration-was a testament to human endurance, female resourcefulness, and the power of devotion.Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers, as well as his own experience retracing Isabel's journey, acclaimed writer Robert Whitaker weaves a riveting tale rich in adventure, intrigue, and scientific achievement. Never before told, The Mapmaker's Wife is an epic love story that unfolds against the backdrop of "the greatest expedition the world has ever known."
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2004.
ISBN: 9780738208084
Characteristics: xiv, 352 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jan 15, 2016

Only book

Jun 04, 2014

This book was well-written and fascinating in terms of relations between the peoples who lived in South America- both natives and Europeans, and the governmental and scientific bureacracies of Spain and France in the late 1700's. With this as a backdrop, the story itself of the scientific explorers meticulously documenting their findings and Isabel's quest to rejoin her husband are riveting. Highly recommended.

Apr 18, 2014

With fascinating detail chapter 1 describes the beginning of the perilous Amazonian journey of Isabel's entourage of fellow travelers, 31 hired Indians, and numerous pack animals as they departed from a village in Peru in 1769 headed for the east coast of the continent. She hoped to be reunited with her husband whom she hadn't seen in 20 years. The story then flashes back to 1735 to relate the scientific expedition by French scientists to determine the shape of the Earth. Page 230 returns to the gripping story of Isabel's horrendous journey.

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