Customer Reviews for

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

Average Rating 3.5
( 337 )
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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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  • 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    Lovers of Paris will love it

    It's a great read for Francophiles. Anyone interested in a broad history of Americans in Europe's most glamorous city, or who want to live vicariously throigh the stories of others will definitely enjoy this one. Well written, well worth it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Oh Pari!

    When American was just a tweener of a nation, patriots craved the worldly sophistication that was found in the old world. The place of choice for many was the unforeseen city of Paris. This enchanted city had the arts, a thriving theatre community, and innovation science and medicine. With steam power ships, the two week journey across the pond opens the door for many.

    In the masterful story telling method that has become the hallmark of David McCullough, The Greater Journey: American in Paris takes the reader on a journey of the French renaissance of the 1800s. McCullough admits that "for me it was not so much a matter of setting for the book as the particular time period and the cast of characters."
    McCullough follows the journey of these adventurers, such as Samuel Morse, a struggling artist who seeks enlightenment and ends up changing the world with his discover of communication. How this city influence other artist such as Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargeant who were inspired by the synergy of Paris creativity that they then flourish in their own right.

    Paris was also incubated innovative discovery of medical advancements and the influences on the first study of medical practices.
    The author delves into the domineering conqueror Napoleons grand vision to modernize Paris and transform it to a marvel city. How Napolean's dentist, Thomas Evans, was a leading figure of the American expatriate community in Paris. At great risk he helped spirit Empress Eugenie out of France when Napoleon III was overthrown following France's humiliating loss in the Franco-Prussian War. Where the author goes into detail accounts of the turbulent effects of the Franco-Prussian War and the long siege of Paris.

    Gustave Eiffel designed the tower that bears his name for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, which confirmed that the world's center of art and science had shifted west, from France to America. Thomas Edison was the most celebrated person at the show, and American machines and products dominated it.

    The Greater Journey: American in Paris exemplifies the subtle influences on the American elite by this old world city, Paris. A fantastic read unmasking the subtle influences of the American cultural psyche.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Love this book

    I just started reading it and have enjoyed the book very much. Particularly the chapter about Cooper and Morse. For all those complaining about the price read it for free for one hour a day on your Nook at any Barnes & Noble store. I have already read a couple books without a purchase. Anyway the last think I need is another book in my house.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Good book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    Wavepelt to thrushfang

    Check aev first result and read my post. Goodbye. He slippedout of the camp.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

    WARNING FOR AUDIO BOOKS

    I bought the audio book in store and it is defective on almost every disc on the computer. It skips and is in audible for up to half the last track on almost every CD in the 16 CD collection. The recording itself is very well read, but this problem makes it very hard to enjoy. I am not sure if it is just my copy, or a problem that is present in all recordings, but it is just a warning for all.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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