"Physically I am totally exhausted and, mentally, not so far off. My whole body aches and I feel drained. My mind feels like it's been frozen and is trying to wake. Yesterday was the hardest challenge of my life, though funnily this morning feels ten times worse..." On 11 February 2001, Ellen MacArthur sailed into the French Atlantic port of Les Sables d'Olonne to complete the Vendee Globe, sailing's toughest race. She had beaten the odds and all the race could throw at her - storms, icy seas, exhaustion, rigging failures and, at the point she was fighting for the lead, an almost catastrophic collision with a container floating just beneath the surface. At 24 she became the youngest person ever to complete the race and the fastest woman ever to circumnavigate the globe. No Briton has ever sailed around the world faster. The scenes that greeted her return were extraordinary; hundreds of thousands of people lined the waterfront to cheer in "La Petite Anglaise" in her boat, "Kingfisher". During the race, climbing "Kingfisher's" 90-foot mast in the teeth of a storm to replace a sail felt "like clinging to a telegraph pole in an earthquake ...the closest to death I have ever been". But Ellen MacArthur never forgot that she had made a choice. She was chasing a dream. To give it any less than her all would to have been to let down everyone who believed in her and anyone for whom fate had denied the opportunity to realize their own ambitions. She knew she could never give up. This is her story so far: how, from her childhood in landlocked Derbyshire, she made it to the startline of the 2000/2001 Vendee Globe. And, told in full for the first time, it's the story of the race that catapulted her into the headlines and the nation's affections. Dramatic and deeply moving, "Taking on the World" should inspire and enthral everyone who reads it.