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The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris Paperback – May 15, 2012
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"--Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)
"A lively and entertaining panorama. . . . By the time he shows us the triumphant Exposition Universelle in 1889, witnessed through the eyes of such characters as painters John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri, we share McCullough's enthusiasm for the city and his affection for the many Americans who improved their lives, their talent and their nation by drinking at the fountain that was Paris."
--Michael Sims, "The Washington Post"
"An epic of ideas, as well as an exhilirating book of spells . . . This is history to be savored."
--Stacy Schiff, "The New York Times Book Review
"McCullough has hit the historical jackpot. . . . A colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris."
"--Publishers Weekly" (starred review)
"For more than 40 years, David McCullough has brought the past to life in books distinguished by vigorous storytelling and vivid characterizations. . . . . McCullough again finds a slighted subject in "The Greater Journey", which chronicles the adventures of Americans in Paris. . . . Wonderfully atmospheric."
--Wendy Smith, "Los Angeles Times
"A highly readable and entertaining travelogue of a special sort, an interdisciplinary treat from a tremendously popular Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. . . . Highly recommended."
"--Library Journal" (starred review)
"There is not an uninteresting page here as one fascinating character after another is explored at a crucial stage of his development. . . . Wonderful, engaging writing full of delighting detail."
--John Barron, "Chicago Sun-Times
"McCullough's research is staggering to perceive, and the interpretation he lends to his material is impressive to behold. . . . Expect his latest book to ascend the best-seller lists and be given a place on the year-end best lists."
"--Booklist "(starred review)
"McCullough's skill as a storyteller is on full display. . . . The idea of telling the story of the French cultural contribution to America through the eyes of a generation of aspiring artists, writers and doctors is inspired. . . a compelling and largely untold story in American history."
--Kevin J. Hamilton, "The Seattle Times
"From a dazzling beginning that captures the thrill of arriving in Paris in 1830 to the dawn of the 20th century, McCullough chronicles the generations that came, saw and were conquered by Paris. . . . "The Greater Journey "will satisfy McCullough's legion of loyal fans . . . it will entice a whole new generation of Francophiles, armchair travelers and those Americans lucky enough to go to Paris before they die."
--Bruce Watson, "The San Francisco Chronicle
Top Customer Reviews
With this book, The Greater Journey, the author has now thoroughly engaged the reader with a topic seldom written about but very deserving of study. It is only natural that we as Americans feel we live in a self centered world; after all we have 2 vast oceans that have protected our shores from invasion for several centuries, and probably will for several more. It simply does not occur to us that since our beginnings, many Americans have chosen to spend considerable time abroad, and in some cases decades of their lives.
During the 1800's and specifically from 1830 until 1900, there was a wave of intellectual migration that headed not west to America, but east to Paris, France from America. Keep in mind that we now sit in a country that is preeminent in the world, financially, intellectually, and probably culturally as well. Back then, we were just forming as a nation. The Indian wars were still in process, and the Civil War would also take place, which became the second re-creation of the United States. McCullough is totally aware of this comparison and makes wise use of it throughout this 456 page book composed of 14 distinct chapters separated into 3 parts, followed by a wonderful epilogue, and a very useful bibliography. The author understands history, and is always mindful of the relative positions of different nations.Read more ›
As much as I enjoyed the books John Adams and 1776, there is something refreshing in seeing living treasure David McCullough depart from the 1700s, an era he knows vividly, and take a tromp through fresh ground. The Greater Journey was so good, so flowing and fast-paced I read through it a little too quickly, in one day to be exact, and emerged with the feeling that I cheated myself of what more properly should have been a lingering experience. Therefore, I plan to read it again in smaller bits in the near future!
That aside, this was among the more interesting history books I've opened in a long while. McCullough's style has never seemed sharper, more conversational, more authoritative or more learned. Where else is the City of Lights examined in such minute detail and from quite this angle? The museums, the streets, the gardens, the parties and salons, and most of all the people, natives and American alike are examined under the microscopic gaze of this finest of living historians. What emerges is an explanation of why Paris was so alluring then as today, and how their time spent there, often brief visits, shaped some of America's leading personages into the figures they went on to be in life. So many famous names leap out from these pages that it proves a who's who of a time and place. The life stories here are as good as biographies anywhere, and there's something to be learned on just about every page as McCullough makes time for many asides and anecdotes about those who passed through the French capital before and during la Belle Époque
To read this book is to feel a part of Paris 150 years ago, and that is the highest praise I think it is possible to give any historian! Well done, David McCullough, well done!
When I first heard that McCullough was penning a new work focusing on the impact that Parisian life had on Americans of the 19th century, I was quite excited to say the least. And when I was offered the chance to do a pre-release review of "The Greater Journey," I was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity. McCullough did not disappoint.
"The Greater Journey" varies in focus from his other works. While the majority of his previous books have focused on political and engineering aspects of American history, "The Greater Journey" instead highlights many of the artistic influences of American history (Adams, Jefferson and Franklin get barely a mention). Although working with a large cast of characters such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mary Cassatt, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Harriet Beecher Stowe, McCullough spotlights a few in more detail. Although Samuel F. B. Morse is more widely known for inventing the telegraph, McCullough spends more time discussing Morse's artistic work in the Louvre. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor of such memorials as the Farragut, Sherman and Robert Gould Shaw Memorials, was greatly influenced by his time in Paris. Of particular interest to me was the account of Elihu Washburne's efforts during the Franco-Prussian War to protect French, American and German citizens.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David McCullough never fails to deliver an interesting read with much insight and colorful and interesting history. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Maurice L. Mitterling
I couldn't put it down, I have a greater appreciation of Paris.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Great historic writing! A very skillful melange of research presentation and storytelling, it moves you along easily while informing you every step of the way..Published 1 month ago by Tomas Tisch
This is a great book, thoroughly researched. It's a pleasure to read. It has so many different aspects of society described in detail. Read morePublished 1 month ago by SAM
“The Greater Journey” is a book that in less capable hands than David McCullough’s would have been deadly dull. Read morePublished 1 month ago by B. Wilfong
I think there are seeds for a half dozen great books included within this one, but I was disappointed in this one. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Reader