by Herbert R. Lottman
This biography followed the life of one of my dad’s favorite authors, Jules Verne. The author of such famous tales as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, Verne wrote a bizarre and (at the time) fresh combination of adventure and science fiction presented as almost-fact.
While Verne’s books can sometimes get overly technical (I learned to skip any paragraph with latitudes and longitudes when reading 20,000 Leagues), they are still great fun, and classic adventures. Reading this biography inspired me to reread (and first-time read) some of Verne’s classics, so you can expect to see some of the appear over the next several months.
This biography was well-written and fairly easy to read (it wasn’t the author’s fault that apparently everyone in France was named either Jules or Jacques). Verne led an interesting life, and the author was respectful in his writings. (So often, modern biographies love to turn everyone into bisexual whores based on “recently discovered letters” or some such fiddle-faddle. I’m not saying that everyone was living pure and clean lives, but I do find it hard to believe that everyone in the 1800’s was living a secret double life dressed in drag.) While he would mention various rumors or theories, he was honest about the sources that claimed such rumors. Overall, he stuck with the actual point of a biography–the progress through the subject’s life.
I greatly enjoyed this read, and look forward to reading some of Vernes’s stories soon.