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The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris [Kindle Edition]

David McCullough
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: CDN$ 22.99
Kindle Price: CDN$ 16.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
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Product Description


"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"

Product Description

The #1 bestseller that tells the remarkable story of the generations of American artists, writers, and doctors who traveled to Paris, the intellectual, scientific, and artistic capital of the western world, fell in love with the city and its people, and changed America through what they learned, told by America’s master historian, David McCullough.

Not all pioneers went west.

In The Greater Journey, David McCullough tells the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, and others who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, hungry to learn and to excel in their work. What they achieved would profoundly alter American history.

Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, whose encounters with black students at the Sorbonne inspired him to become the most powerful voice for abolition in the US Senate. Friends James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Morse not only painting what would be his masterpiece, but also bringing home his momentous idea for the telegraph. Harriet Beecher Stowe traveled to Paris to escape the controversy generated by her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Three of the greatest American artists ever—sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent—flourished in Paris, inspired by French masters.

Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris, and the nightmare of the Commune. His vivid diary account of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris is published here for the first time.

Telling their stories with power and intimacy, McCullough brings us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’ phrase, longed “to soar into the blue.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 15196 KB
  • Print Length: 578 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (May 24 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JXXL0U
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,884 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
"Learn to do good;" -- Isaiah 1:17 (NKJV)

This is the most engaging history book I've read so far in 2011.

While I was in college, I focused my studies on 19th century France because almost every possible variation of human history occurred there at some point between 1789 and 1914. In the course of those studies, I became very familiar with how French people and Europeans saw Paris. But it never occurred to me to apply the special lens of how visiting and expatriate Americans experienced the City of Light. I feel extremely grateful to David McCullough for conceiving of and brilliantly executing this book.

I should mention that I have read in great detail how 18th and 20th century Americans saw Paris. How I missed reading about the 19th century is beyond me.

One of the fascinating themes is how Americans went from being humble learners, seeking to gain from greater French knowledge of the arts and medicine, to being influential innovators bringing new influences (such as Morse's telegraph, Edison's electric lights, and John Singer Sargent's portraiture). Paris itself stretched to become a bigger stage on which technical progress was shared through the various exhibitions.

To me one of the best aspects of this book was becoming a little bit familiar with fascinating Americans who I didn't know much about before such as painter George P. A. Healy, American minister to France Elihu B. Washburne, and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Naturally, Paris itself is the biggest character and David McCullough treats her with proper reverence.

I was particularly charmed by the descriptions of difficult Atlantic crossings in sailing ships, riding in French stagecoaches (diligences) to Paris, and how the newly arrived reacted to seeing their first French cathedrals, especially the one at Rouen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One Hundred Years of History in Paris Nov. 6 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Initially, I became familiar with McCullough’s work through the HBO series “John Adams”. I was amazed at his thorough style and attention to every detail in respect to a lesser known founding father.

With “The Greater Journey” David McCullough has brought us another great century of American history. This time he follows the journey of ex-pats living in Paris, the center of civilization. They were there on a mission to learn and better themselves in order to help their new nation advance. There are so many stories and characters that when I picked up the book it was a bit intimidating. However, this book turned out to be a page turner, as the author masterfully intertwines all these stories into a beautiful work of art and history.

And David McCullough knows about art. The book has a quite a few pictures of art works produced in this era by masters such as Morse, Healy, St. Gaudens, Sargant, and Cassat. The descriptions of these works and the creative process they went through is simply excellent. The bibliography alone is over one hundred pages.
Furthermore, this book beyond the individual stories of its characters also brings to light the history of Paris in the 19th century. From revolutions, and violence, and war, to an age of enlightenment, and prosperity, finishing with the Belle Époque.

I would highly recommend this book as good reading to be savored and cherished. The sacrifices that these generations of Americans went through in pursuit of knowledge and artistic growth are truly inspirational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful read!! Sept. 18 2011
for anyone who has had a life-long love affair with France, this is the perfect present. I am taking it to Paris with me,next week!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Greater Journey July 21 2012
A marvellous book. Historical facts are revealed about the life of Americans in music,art and medicine in the 1800's in Paris. It shows the importance of these cultural and medical experiences for Americans in the development of life in America.There are details of American artists in Paris their successes and failures.If you enjoy history and culture this book is for you.
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