The Mapmaker’s Wife by Robert Whitaker


Title: The Mapmaker’s Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon
Author: Robert Whitaker
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: BiographiesHistory, Science, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2004


This is an incredibly intense story, one that I completely fell in love with and enjoyed. It’s almost two stories in one, truth be told, but it’s still an epic journey. Well, two epic journeys. With a lot of backstory and a number of political implications and social nuances in fact, Whittaker manages to not know tell the tale of Isabella and Jean, but also a whole set of scientific breakthroughs, political battles and social norms which have changed throughout time.

To start with, I really just wanted to know about Isabella’s journey across the Amazon. That is still a feat that I think is amazing today, to do it on the 1800’s is a whole other, unbelievable story. A journey that literally killed Al, of her companions was survived, all for the sake of a man that she hadn’t seen for 20 years. A love story in a time that didn’t necessarily put a premium on love.

Although it was Isabella’s story that I was looking forward to, I got pretty stuck into Jean’s story. The idea of a scientific endeavour to prove the theory of gravity and how that effects the equator is intense in and of itself. But then, to add to that, there is murder, espionage, and a whole slew of other scientific discoveries. Some of which I remember using a little during my university degree.

This is an incredibly factual memoir, but one that is also highly emotional. Whittaker hits that perfect balance between facts and emotion when writing about the past. He also provides a great epilogue at the end which shows how everyone lived out the rest of their lives. A wonderful read that I look forward to picking up again in the future.

<- WillStephen Hawking: A Life in Science ->

Image source: Amazon


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