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Stacy Schiff…[McCullough] explores the intellectual legacy that France settled on its 19th-century visitors. The result is an epic of ideas, as well as an exhilarating book of spells…McCullough's grand tour is impressionistic and discursive, proceeding by way of crossed paths and capsule biographies. This is history to be savored rather than sprinted through, like a Parisian meal. It amounts to a meaty collection of short stories, expertly and flavorfully assembled, free of gristly theory.
—The New York Times