Customer Reviews for

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

Average Rating 3.5
( 337 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(114)

4 Star

(65)

3 Star

(78)

2 Star

(41)

1 Star

(39)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

110 out of 113 people found this review helpful.

Fascinating

Ever since I picked up "John Adams", I have been an avid fan of David McCullough. His biography of Harry Truman is perhaps the best one I've ever read. McCullough has a knack for taking people or things that perhaps have escaped the popular limelight (such as the Panama...
Ever since I picked up "John Adams", I have been an avid fan of David McCullough. His biography of Harry Truman is perhaps the best one I've ever read. McCullough has a knack for taking people or things that perhaps have escaped the popular limelight (such as the Panama Canal or the Brooklyn Bridge) and writes a completely captivating history of them. You do not simply read a McCullough book, you experience it. 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. With each of these and others, McCullough writes of how their time in Paris influenced their artistic abilities or, as was the case with Charles Sumner, their political/humanitarian views. When I first heard of the subject matter of the book, I wasn't sure it would be as interesting as McCullough's other works that dealt with more sweeping changes such as 1776. But while watching an interview of McCullough about the book, he made a statement that convinced me otherwise. He said "History is much more than just politics and generals. History is about life. History is human. And music, art, literature, poetry, theatre, science, the whole realm of the human spirit is all part of history." As captivating and readable as his other books, "The Greater Journey" offers a unique glimpse of the more cultural side of American history and the huge role Paris life played in shaping this culture. (5/5 stars)

posted by Eskypades on May 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

133 out of 231 people found this review helpful.

E-Book Prices Do Not Make Sense

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who finds it unbeleivable that the e-book prices are not lower. Six months ago, you could purchase the popular bestsellers for $9.99; now, they are selling for $12.99. The main reason I purchased a Nook was because I felt it would pay...
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who finds it unbeleivable that the e-book prices are not lower. Six months ago, you could purchase the popular bestsellers for $9.99; now, they are selling for $12.99. The main reason I purchased a Nook was because I felt it would pay for itself because of the significant price differential for e-books. It's almost getting to the point where it makes sense to buy the hardback books at Costco again.

posted by CraigMcK on May 18, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 339 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 17
  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Fascinating

    Ever since I picked up "John Adams", I have been an avid fan of David McCullough. His biography of Harry Truman is perhaps the best one I've ever read. McCullough has a knack for taking people or things that perhaps have escaped the popular limelight (such as the Panama Canal or the Brooklyn Bridge) and writes a completely captivating history of them. You do not simply read a McCullough book, you experience it. 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. With each of these and others, McCullough writes of how their time in Paris influenced their artistic abilities or, as was the case with Charles Sumner, their political/humanitarian views. When I first heard of the subject matter of the book, I wasn't sure it would be as interesting as McCullough's other works that dealt with more sweeping changes such as 1776. But while watching an interview of McCullough about the book, he made a statement that convinced me otherwise. He said "History is much more than just politics and generals. History is about life. History is human. And music, art, literature, poetry, theatre, science, the whole realm of the human spirit is all part of history." As captivating and readable as his other books, "The Greater Journey" offers a unique glimpse of the more cultural side of American history and the huge role Paris life played in shaping this culture. (5/5 stars)

    110 out of 113 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    Highly Recommended - excellent value!

    I thought this book was intriguing. I have always enjoyed well researched historical books and McCullough is a master. This period of history has always held a particular fascination for me, especially in the wonderful "city of light". His approach was insightful, and held my attention from the beginning. Reviews concerning price should be forwarded to the customer service or complaint dept. not here, where you are only speaking to empty air.

    72 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Another masterpiece!

    THE GREATER JOURNEY is WONDERFUL! Set in the 1800's, the transformation of Paris and the Americans who lived there and influenced music, art, literature, poetry, science, and acting. This book is an exciting, clever and intriguing glimpse into the more cultural side of American history and the meaningful role Paris life played in shaping our culture. The unequalled cultural delights that was Paris with its spectacular boulevards, and mystifying parks which decades later shaped New York City's Parks, energizes the essence of human spirit. Riveting! McCullough captured the essence of Paris in this unforgettable masterpiece!

    27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Worth EVERY penny

    Worth EVERY penny! A real page turner filled with incredible history that lets your imagination go wild

    26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    A fantastic read!!!!

    Amazing and thought-provoking book! Kudos to Mr. McCullough!!!
    Shame on all of you cheap people who gave this amazing book a one star because the price of the nook was high. That has NOTHING to do with this book and it's review. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!
    For those intelligent people who know how to appreciate a great read and know the value of their dollar will never be disappointed with this buy.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    This book opened my eyes to a period in history that was heretofore missing regarding Paris. Until David McCullough described the myriad of Americans that furthered their skills as Doctors, Artists, artisans and statesman, I was ignorant of what Paris meant to so many Americans.

    As he has done in his many Historical novels, his research and ability to express himself, manifests his genius

    Jack Vax
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Superb Book - Obscene Ebook Price

    This is a must-read for history buffs. It is apparently constructed from the various letters and writings of the numerous Americans who traveled to Paris in the early 19th century (many of whom I did not know made that journey). It offers a great insight on their perspective of France, and their comparative perspective of the U.S. in the early 1800s. Their comparative views - France vs. U.S. - can offer a certain peace of mind to those who might fear that our culture has undergone radical changes that frighten them.

    It's very well-written, in a reasonable vocabulary, yet does not lack for description. It's not stilted, or conspicuously prejudiced - it's just a fascinating revelation of fact gleaned from real writings of real people.

    I bought the hardback. Ebook prices are obscene. When I bought my Nook, just a few months back, prices were almost half of what they are now. I've put the Nook away now, because the convenience of an Ebook reader is too costly. It makes no sense to pay the same price for a poorly edited electronic copy, when you can own the carefully edited hardback.

    But this review is about the book, not the Ebook price, and it's a 5-star read, for me.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    I don't understand........

    Why do people who are interested in reading via NOOK give ANY book one star because of the cost of the e-book? The opportunity to "Rate & Review" books means that the readers are rating the content of the book NOT the price. To readers who want to purchase e-books and find the prices too high, which they are, find a more appropriate forum to express your opinions. Maybe if you go directly to Barnes and Noble customer service, your voices will be heard and the high prices of the e-books will come down.
    As for this book, I loved it. David McCullough NEVER disappoints. The book contains so much history that I never knew----a fascinating story.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2011

    Fantastic read - highly fascinating!

    Another gem by one of our best writers.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Shut+up+about+ebook+price

    The+retail+price+for+the+book+is+37.50%2C+%2410+more+than+the+average+hardcover.+It+has+numerous+photographs.+Ebook+is+%245+more+on+average+compared+to+other+new+ebooks.+It+makes+sense.+Stop+complaining.

    6 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2011

    Nook Knuckleheads!!

    Seriously ... Nook folks, get off this page!! I've been anxious to pick this up and when I saw it was rated only three stars my heart sunk and I thought "how could it be? David McCullough is so fabulous ... how could he have failed with this amazing group of people?" But then I realized, the Nooks have muddied the reviews ... get off, get off, get off! I want an honest review - not your bloody whining about the price!!!!! Heading to B&N tomorrow for my hardcopy - not sure I'll ever join the ranks of Nook!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Rate the book not the price

    Seriously...

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    The price is what it is.

    So please stop spamming with repetitive whines about the price. Get over it. Move on. (And rating a wonderfull book one star because of your issues with its price rather than its substance as a writtrn work is truely outrageous. Shame on all of you who did so.)

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Worth Every Penny: You Get What You Pay For

    I don't know when I have enjoyed a book of non-fiction more! The breadth and depth of David McCullough's erudition in The Greater Journey is, unlike so much writing about history, completely charming and engaging. He must have known that many of us would wish to revisit Paris after reading this; he kindly indicates when the names and numbers of addresses have changed in the course of Paris's history since mid-19th century! The book is very well organized so that in spite of a dizzying array of persons and events, one never feels lost or confused. The nook version includes the illustrative plates which show up vividly on my color nook. Though I'm ready to book my ticket, the irony is that McCollouch did not need to go to Paris to write his book. The letters and diaries of his Americans in Paris are almost all in American libraries. Quelle domage!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    Well written and informative

    I have read most of the author's other works and thoroughly enjoyed the, especially his biography of John Adams. When The Greater Journey first came out it did not sound too interesting to me based on the subject matter and I held off for a while. I ended up picking it up a couple weeks ago and have loved it. The book is so well written it is a pleasure to read even though the subject matter would not have been my fist choice. I would highly recommend the book to any reader, even if they normally do not read non-fiction/history. I bought the hard cover and the book itself is lovely. The front and back contain great black and white photos of Paris from the time period covered in the book. Additionally the pages themselves are thick and heavy which is something you don't see a lot of these days. On a side note, it is disappointing to see all the negative reviews offered by those who don't like the NOOK price. While I tend to agree with them to a point, it is unfair to the author to rate the content of his work based a price set by the publisher and/or Barnes and Noble.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Highly recommended

    The book, which I bought in hard back, is wonderful. I refused to buy it for the Nook (which I also own and enjoy) for two reasons. The first was cost. I agree with the other reviewers who term it highway robbery that the electronic version costs almost as much as the hard back version. Costco is selling the hard back version this week for $20.00, by the way. I'm headed over there to buy one for my friend's birthday.

    Second, the "real" book has some great photos in it. They just don't translate as well to the Nook.

    Wake up B&N. I love your stores AND the Nook but this is ridiculous. If Costco can sell the book for $20.00, I'm sure you can amend your cost for the electronic version too. Sign me A Loyal Fan who is also The Loyal Opposition.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    fabulous book

    If you thrive on beautiful things art music theater and knowledge you will not be able to put this book down

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    McCullough is a marvelous historian and his writing is clear, co

    McCullough is a marvelous historian and his writing is clear, concise, and very readable.  I have read many of his books and enjoyed them all.  Up to this one.
    The theme of Americans arriving in Paris and being awed by the city, the art, the people, the language, architecture becomes repetitive after the first two sections.  Interspersed are asides that I wished had more detail (e.g, the June Revolution of 1832, 1848, the Franco Prussian War, the Paris Commune).  Of course, none of those events were the subject of the book.  However, there is just enough information to whet one's appetite but not satisfy it.  Therefore, they become a distraction to the theme of the book.  After reading through three set of Americans in Paris, I grew bored and moved on.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2012

    This is an exceptionally engaging and enlightening book. David M

    This is an exceptionally engaging and enlightening book. David McCullough has probably created an American classic about a very critical piece of our history. If we only knew how much we owe France, over 100 years ago and perhaps further into the 21st century. After reading the original hardcover version last summer, the paperback version will now be my mini-backpack companion though the parks this summer. I hope it becomes an HBO docudrama, and a standard selection in U.S. high schools and colleges.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Well worth the time and money.

    This book is not light reading, particularly the section about the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune. My interests include history, art, and France, and I learned something about each of these things through this book. McCullough does an excellent job of presenting the savagery which stains French history as well as reinforcing our image of Paris as an icon of culture and delicacy.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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