This book provides the background of many of the writers and artists we thought we know. McCullough gives women writers and artists a significant amount of time in the book, when so much history does not. McCullough keeps us interested, even though there is no one story to tie the entire book together. He moves back and forth between the characters to keep you interested and to help you keep track of the decades he describes. We watch Paris and the United States take huge leaps in inagination, creativity, and technology.
My favorite listens are historical fiction. Robert Graves' "I, Cladius" and "Claudius the God" are my most enjoyable listens (and reads)!!
I love David McCullough & I love Paris!! That said while I enjoyed "The Greater Journey", it's boundaries were too broad to be as tight a story as "1776" or "Truman"... 2 of his classic works!
Another obstacle to overcome is that the subject matter delves into the lives and works of those who made sculptures & paintings. In the format of an audible book (i.e., no photos) and myself not being an art historian, I found it hard to fully appreciate the works McCullough was describing.
David McCullough reads a portion of the book and his voice is so rich I would pay to listen to him reading soup can labels. Edward Hermann is in the same class and he makes audible listening experiences a REAL joy!
If you're a devotee of the works of David McCullough, you'll enjoy this work! But if you're new to his works, I wouldn't place this at the top of the list.
I have to agree with other reviewers that this is not his best book. There is no doubt about his thorough research but it would have been helpful to better organize and filter it to make it a compelling read. As it is it reads like an encyclopedia of Americans in Paris set on shuffle.
McCullough writes very in depth about his characters but frankly, the people in this book are surprisingly boring and the story is really dragged down because of it.
I have read McCullough's book on the life of John Adams and found it excellent so I was looking forward to this one. Maybe it was just me but I could not get into this book. It was well researched and well written but not very interesting. I normally enjoy listening to history but this book was very disjointed with no continuing story line. I forced myself to finish it but can't say I enjoyed it.
Very well written and interesting history of Americans in Paris from 1800's-early 1900's -- artists, doctors, authors, politicans. Well done narration as well.
I usually love McCullough's books and I've read them all. I didn't think he could write a bad book, but this one is awful. The work is disjointed and trivial, an embarrassing effort by a usual superb author. What happened?
The narrator, Edward Hermann, sounds like he has a bad cold and worse yet, slurs his words. Insult to injury, he also mispronounces many of them. As a simple example, he pronounces "Liszt" as "List" ... While I understand that not everyone is a musician and knows the correct pronunciation, the narrator should get it right. It comes with the job. Liszt was a composer, not an auction on Ebay,
I love David McCullough which is why I bought this book and started reading it automatically. What a disappointment! Lots of scenes but no real themes, no real threads, no real story. It was as if he threw together 500 note cards and called it a book. Let's all hope he returns to the great David McCullough in his next book. Give this one a pass.
I'm game for Sci Fi, Fantasy, Fiction, History. I may even try this venue for learning languages. I have also come to love Great Courses.
Mr. McCullough is a masterful writer. He leads you through the lives of so many individuals in such a way that you can almost feel that you are personally in their proximity as they travel and live abroad in Paris and the surrounding regions of the time.
The personal stories and perhaps anecdotes of how very thorough Americans tried to cope with living abroad in Paris. This is peopled with the first true generation of "Americans". A generation that came just shortly after the Revolution. (Granted this spans almost a hundred years in paris so it includes probably up to a third or fourth generation.)
I'm trying to think of the right word. He definitely sounds like a historian. Very authoritative sounding voice. Has a documentary tone. Perhaps... Harmonious? He feels like the right person for the read. Few others could probably inflect the way the author intended as Mr. Herrmann did.
I enjoyed several of the stories written in this novel. I enjoyed his touching on the medical school with Oliver Wendall Holmes and his peers. But my favorite section was on Elihu Washburne. I had never heard of the man before, and now I wish there were more people in the world like him today.
It is always amazing to see how historically people rarely stayed put, but moved about among their neighboring countries, and even countries far afield, and how things change on the return home. For them personally and the lives of people they touch. I feel this is a great and touching point on how America gained such a wealth of educated and philosophical leaders in the 1800's and what a blessing it was for us. They truly helped build on the blocks of a great foundation in this country and I wish we could continue a legacy such as this.