The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon

The Mapmaker s Wife A True Tale of Love Murder and Survival in the Amazon In the early years of the th 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 Clar

  • Title: The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon
  • Author: Robert Whitaker
  • ISBN: 9780738208084
  • Page: 277
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 mountainIn 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 Grameson, became stranded at opposite ends of the , 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 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.

    One thought on “The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon”

    1. This was a fairly satisfying account of a French scientific expedition to the Andes in the 1730s with exploration of the added to its end. It helpfully filled in some gaps in my understanding of how the monopoly of the Spanish on South American colonialism gave substantial ground to the Portuguese but only a little to French incursion. The story of the Quito wife of one of the party, Isabel Godin, taking a journey across the Andes and down the to reach her husband is only a medium section of t [...]

    2. I highly recommend The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the , but not to everyone. The title and the book description may give the impression that the central theme of the book is a love story. That is false. Part of the book is certainly a wonderful adventure story about a woman who travels practically alone through the basin to reach her husband stranded in French Guiana, but this portion of the boo takes up only the last seventy pages. The love story and the adve [...]

    3. It's a delightful book, even though the title misrepresents what it really is about. The mapmaker's wife, Isabel Godin, occupies less than half of its pages and, even though her story is a very interesting one, it's part of an even more colourful story of the French Academy of Sciences expedition into the Andes to divine the shape and circumference of the Earth.Without giving too much away, let me just say that Isabel Godin wasn't a mapmaker's wife, either. She was the wife of one of the assista [...]

    4. The Mapmaker's Wife intrigued me - the journey of Isabel Godin across the ian jungle to be reunited with her husband after 20 long years. Yet, it wasn't what I was expecting. After a brief mention of Isabel (still a child in the convent), Robert Whitaker plunges into the tale of the French Expedition to Peru to determine the shape of the globe. I almost gave up reading the book as, in meticulous detail, he explains the back story to the expedition. I'm glad I didn't because after a slow start, t [...]

    5. I found this an engrossing read, focusing on the exploits of a team of French mapmakers in recently colonised South America, and a woman who took her destiny into her own hands in order to be reunited with her husband. We get a very good look at the then-impenetrable jungles and broad path of the through this territory. Just about all travel was by river. An international expedition was sent to discover the shape of the Earth at the Equator, to settle opposing theories about whether it bulged. [...]

    6. A Title in Search of a Book - Alas, the title bears little resemblance to the material betwixt sensational front cover illustration and blurb-infested back cover. Once again, I smell the publishing world's eternal quest for a best-seller at work. This is no Longitude, try as the publishers might to try to cast it into that role.It is, however, a decently written account of a French scientific expedition to the New World in 1735. Its mission was to measure several arcs of latitude and thus prove [...]

    7. I've been excitedly buzzing about this book the whole time I was reading it, so I'm afraid that my 3-star rating threw at least one friend for a loop. So I'm going to do my best to explain what might, in the end, come down to that whole "stars are relative" issue. Also, I'm going to risk bringing down the wrath of my office roomie by saying that it's really more of a 3.5. (And now we'll see if he really reads my reviews!)Anyway. I really liked this book. I went in half expecting a dry, slow slog [...]

    8. η ιστορία αγάπης του ζαν και της ισαμπέλ με 21 χρόνια ζωής χώρια και τον αμαζόνιο ανάμεσά τους που κρατάει εκατό και κάτι σελίδες από τις 400-κάτι σελίδες καθαρού κειμένου πέρα από προλόγο, βιβλιογραφία και λίστες ονομάτων. τόνους καλύτερο από ττο βιβλίο για τη φλόρενς μπέικε [...]

    9. The Mapmaker's Wife is a history of scientific exploration, as well as a story of one woman's survival through the rainforest; the best parts of this book were the descriptions of Isabel Grameson-Godin's journey alone through the . I was really drawn to this section of the book; sadly it just didn't last long enough!The book begins in 1769, with Isabel (nee Grameson) Godin deciding that it was time she make the journey down the to meet her husband. Jean Godin was a part of a group of scientist [...]

    10. The book's subtitle is A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the . It is actually a pretext for stringing together an endless diatribe about the debate about how to measure the size and shape of the world, the conquest of the New World, and political intrigues among the Spanish governors in the Americas, plus a million tangents thrown in for good measure. Isabel Grameson's story is a mere pretext, and it hardly figures in the book at all. Worse yet, I could not help but ask myself why it [...]

    11. If you read the title of this book and the summary on the back, you're going to be very surprised at the story. While there is a mapmaker's wife, a murder, and survival stories in the book, it's mostly about how the French went about measuring latitude in Peru! I happen to be very interested in science so I found this fascinating, but I can't imagine that most people would and that is reflected in a lot of the reviews. The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to their 8 years trying to measur [...]

    12. Awesome story of early 1700s in Ecuador, the French explorers and their struggles. But also about perseverance in the jungles of Ecuador by one woman.

    13. I'm always impressed (and a little suspicious) when an author can make history read like a novel. That's not what Robert Whitaker does in The Mapmaker's Wife, which for me was both a relief and a disappointment. The author doesn't deform history for the sake of a good story. This is a meticulously researched book about the French scientific expedition to South America in the early 1700s to make measurements near the equator that would reveal the size and shape of the earth. The bibliography is t [...]

    14. If you examine the subtitle of this book, A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the , you may find yourself expecting a pulse-pounding suspense tale ripped right out of history. That’s not strictly true, and I want to be up-front with you because the truth of the matter is that this is a really good book, and I suspect that more than one person has been turned off when it didn’t meet their expectations.There is, in fact, a murder. There’s also a love story and a pretty impressive st [...]

    15. This book tells a really amazing story. A scientific expedition from France heads to Peru where each member of the team undergoes sometimes unbelievable hardships in pursuit of their research. But the most amazing story of all, to my mind, is the title story: one of the French scientists marries a local girl (and at 13 she was a girl), who, twenty three years later sets off across the to be reunited with him. I would not want to trek the today, and if I did I would have the luxury of GPS, weap [...]

    16. Slowly it's becoming clearer to me that non-fiction books, based on fascinating true life characters or great adventures are more appealing to my current stage in life than just another made up tale. The title character, although she isn't actually present for most of the book, is absolutely fascinating. I can't give any of Isabel's story away, but it is one of the most incredible and amazing I've ever read. This woman, who grew up as a pampered second generation Spaniard (known as Creole, even [...]

    17. It's a keeper, a book worth sharing - "Mapmaker's Wife" - but not everyone will think so. Please don't be misled by titles: this one's certainly not the typical romance. If your tastes tend more toward the " vicarious pleasure of the voyeur " in contemporary or popular fiction just keep looking, there's so much to choose from now. But if you are one to welcome an occasional more 'scholarly' read with a bit of research behind it. You will discover a bit more to appreciate and be challenged by wi [...]

    18. The first 60% of this book is hardly about the Mapmaker's wife at all. Rather it is an engaging and surprisingly interesting account of a scientific expedition from France to Peru for the purpose of measuring the earth at the equator and determining the, at that time disputed, shape of the earth. As is usually (always?) the case, the hardships they survived and the ingenuity employed against the problems they met are mind boggling to the modern reader in her comfortable armchair. Along the way t [...]

    19. This was fascinating. It tells the story of a French expedition to South America in 1735 to measure the circumference of the earth and decide a controversy on the exact shape of the earth. The first half of the book tells about the members of the expedition and what they go through in the inhospitable regions of the Andes to accomplish this goal. There's a lot about measuring and making maps but it was quite interesting. One member of the group marries a Peruvian noblewoman and they are then sep [...]

    20. It's a fast read and the underlying story is great, but the portrayal of eighteenth-century Europe and South America verges on the sloppy (for example, on page 78 there are two references to wild peacocks inhabiting the forests of Panama, which The same goes for suggestions that the chivalric romances enjoyed by sixteenth-century conquistadors are key to understanding Andean society two hundred years later.) The Mapmaker's Wife is an enjoyable introduction to the La Condamine expedition, but cou [...]

    21. I love books about cartography but this one was supposedly about a woman's trip across South America because her cartographer husband was being reassigned. That bit is there but there is also a lot of other loosely associated history about South American, cartography and other stuff. In other words, it lacks focus.

    22. A fascinating book about the of a woman who would just not give up, was kindly helped by natives to continue her amazing journey. She and her husband were separated by some 21 years, but that didn't stop their love for one another! Amazing story, and was hard to put down

    23. There are many ways to die if you walk through the jungle. I am very lucky to have a brother with great taste in books, who frequently sends them to me in the post after he's read them. A lot of the books he sends centre on the 18th century - he's a history nut and it's his favourite century by far. He sent me The Mapmaker's Wife ten years ago, and I enjoyed it so much I bought a copy for my father.As I was finishing The Mapmaker's Wife, it happened that some Brazilian guys were doing a bit of [...]

    24. Despite what other reviewers have said, I think this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. However, don't be fooled by the title. It is not just a love story. Anyone looking solely for historical romance, will be bored and disappointed. However, if you are willing to give the book a chance anyway, you will find a fascinating history of one of the great questions of science. The first part of the book focuses on an expedition of French scientists in Peru measuring a degree of arc at [...]

    25. Meh. The title and the book jacket sold me a gripping story: love! murder! survival! And the back of the book promised an epic love story and the attention of all of Europe. All of this is exaggeration. Sure, they loved each other, if for no other reason than that they waited for each other and made it back to each other. There WAS an unrelated murder of someone in the expedition. Isabel survived. As for the attention of all of Europe, they could barely get the attention of colonial officials wh [...]

    26. This was a fascinating book, there's no doubt. I was however not expecting the story. From the title, and jacket description, I was expecting a story more about Isabel Godin. But in fact she is not the main character until the last dare I say, quarter of the book. The majority of this story is about a scientific expedition and the characters who play into the back story of Jean and Isabel Godin. Once you get past the fact that this is a broader story you settle in for the intriguing ride. The we [...]

    27. This book mostly detailed a French expedition to South America in the 1700's. The main goal was to measure latitude and longitude to determine the shape of the Earth. The scientists also performed many other experiments. Isabel, the mapmaker's wife actually plays a very small part in this story. Overall, it was interesting to learn about what the scientists encountered on their mission, but the story did get a bit tedious at times.

    28. Don't let the title put you off. I thoroughly absorbed this compelling account of French scientists tracking through the to prove their scientific mettle. The love story is secondary and instructive of the survival instinct and what qualities make one successful in dire circumstances. Make no mistake,mother is not a friendly place. The author reveals the majesty, mystique, and horror of this land.

    29. Good story, but a bit schizophrenic. The first half of the book journals the fascinating history of 18th century Peru and S America - including the story of French scientists/map makers documenting the shape of the earth near the equator. Then the book changes in the second half, which is about the journey of Isabel, the wife of one of the mapmakers. She makes a harrowing journey from Quito, across the Andes and down the to join her husband.

    30. The title and summary are incredibly misleading. This is more a history of exploration and land surveying in the New World than it is about the very short chapter on Isabel's journey to her husband. It is still an engaging and informative book, but if you were looking for a book on female adventure, this is not it

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