In 1735, a band of French scientists set off on a daring, decade long expedition to South America in a race to measure the circumference of the earth and reveal the mysteries of a little known continent to a world hungry for discovery and knowledge. Scaling 16,000 foot mountains in the Peruvian Andes, braving jaguars, pumas, insects, and vampire bats in the jungle, the scientists barely completed their mission. But the adventures recounted in The Mapmaker’s Wife were only just beginning.
In the course of the expedition, an unlikely love arose between one of its members and a beautiful Peruvian noblewoman. Victims of a tangled web of international politics, Jean Godin and Isabel Gramesón were left stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon. Isabel’s solo journey to reunite with Jean after a twenty year separation was so dramatic that it captured the imagination of eighteenth century Europe. Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers, as well as his own experience retracing Isabel’s journey, award-winning writer Robert Whitaker weaves a riveting tale rich in adventure, intrigue, enduring love, and scientific achievement.
About the Author
Robert Whitaker is the award-winning author of four books, including Anatomy of an Epidemic, which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2010 award for best investigative journalism, On the Laps of Gods, and Mad in America. His newspaper and magazine articles on the mentally ill and the pharmaceutical industry have garnered several national awards, including a George Polk Award for medical writing and a National Association of Science Writers Award for best magazine article.
A series he co-wrote for the Boston Globe on the abuse of mental patients in research settings was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.