ROUND ABOUT THE EARTH
Joyce E Chaplin Simon & Schuster, £12.99
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”.