ROUND ABOUT THE EARTH

Joyce E Chap­lin Si­mon & Schus­ter, £12.99

The Herald - Arts - - FRONT PAGE -

Mag­el­lan wasn’t the first per­son to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the Earth – that hadn’t been his in­ten­tion in the first place, and he died en route – but that ill­fated voy­age, says Joyce E Chap­lin, put peo­ple in a new re­la­tion­ship with their planet, get­ting hu­man­ity to think on a global scale for the first time. She tells the story of cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion from sail­ing ship to space­ship in a hefty book which is full of de­lights, not least in its open­ing stages, which tell of adventures on the high seas against a back­drop of com­mer­cial and im­pe­rial am­bi­tions. It’s no co­in­ci­dence that the or­bits of early cos­mo­nauts were also con­nected with pres­tige on the world stage, just like the 15th-cen­tury voy­ages. She touches on many fas­ci­nat­ing topics, in­clud­ing how Jules Verne in­tro­duced the as­pect of rac­ing against the clock and Thomas Cook found a new breed of glo­be­trot­ters ready to cir­cle the world for their own “per­sonal ful­fil­ment”.

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