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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful, Fascinating Look at 19th Century Paris through Visiting American Eyes
"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...
Published on June 10 2011 by Donald Mitchell

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3.0 out of 5 stars A journal compilation of the times.
My husband finished the book and liked it , however, I lost interest in it at the moment at the height of the war. I might resume reading it at a later time.
Published 22 months ago by Grace M. Hicks


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful, Fascinating Look at 19th Century Paris through Visiting American Eyes, June 10 2011
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
"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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful read!!, Sept. 18 2011
By 
Judith Sanger (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
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 One Hundred Years of History in Paris, Nov. 6 2013
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ITS (Calgary, AB, Canada) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars A journal compilation of the times., Jan. 20 2013
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My husband finished the book and liked it , however, I lost interest in it at the moment at the height of the war. I might resume reading it at a later time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Greater Journey, July 21 2012
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This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
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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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreary!, July 29 2011
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Avril C. Warren (victoria, british columbia canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
While there were several interesting sections, for instance the sea voyage in sailing ships, the Parisian medical school, the account of the American ambasssador's stay in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, the seige of Paris and the Commune, too lengthy attention was given to people who possibly would interest Americans, but not other readers. Who cares that Emma Willard "approved entirely of the French regard for fashion" and feasted her eyes on the jewels worn by the Parisian women? Oh for a good editor who should have trimmed this lengthy book.
Avril Warren, Victoria Britiish Columbia
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A work that should not have been published, April 21 2012
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This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
As many other reviewers have noted, this book is disjointed in style and written without any underlying theme or analysis. For much of its length it reads very much like a poorly crafted catalogue or cookbook. Could this be the great David McCullough who has written this? The author seems to have no real mastery of his subject matter, and the words commercial and superficial rang in my ears as I read it.

And yet with a more knowledgeable writer the story could have been a fascinating read. The interplay of French and Americans surely should have offered a revealing contrast between the character and culture of each group. Instead, in "The Greater Journey," the French and Paris are simply used as a backdrop for the heroic actions of Americans artists, who work hard to satisfy their insatiable ambitions, while finding themselves to be true blue, back home patriots. The book could almost have been set in Indianapolis.

As for accuracy, on page 219 McCullough claims that a Cunard line ship, the Pacific, sank in 1856 with all passengers and crew lost. However, as it is widely known, Cunard never lost a passenger's life in its long and famous history. In fact the Pacific belonged to the ill fated American Collins Line. It is this type of very basic mistake which makes one wonder about McCullough and his work on this book.

Too bad about this! It was my first David McCullough book and I was expecting something great.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars boring !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Sept. 10 2011
By 
H. Noseworthy "cash" (toronto) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
there are some interesting sections ( Franco-Prussian War and the Commune period) - if I had known this was about art and artists I never would have bought it. I find art and artists both boring and boorish. I bought this on the strength of DM's past books which are some of the best ever written. I feel ripped off after buying this book. My advice to readers is don't waste your money or wait til you can get it for $2.00 used which will be very soon believe me. I should have read the New York Times review before buying this "book".
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The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough (Hardcover - May 24 2011)
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