Once more I come to a book written by David McCullough not certain of what i will find but knowing it will be interesting. Once more I am not disappointed.
"Why," I ask myself, "should I care about Americans in Paris?" And Mr. McCullough informs me.
When I think of Americans in Paris, I think of Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Stein. I do not think of the Americans who went there sixty and seventy years earlier. Because I am poorly educated about art, I give no thought to the many painters who went there to improve their abilities. (Think Mary Cassatt.) To the earlier writers who went. (Think James Fenimore Cooper.) Or to the entertainers who went there to widen their horizons. (Think P. T. Barnum.) I would not know this but for Mr. McCullough.
I know a bit of the French Revolution but had heard nothing of the other revolts or of the the Parisian Commune. Now i want to do a bit more reading and discover what I have been missing. Information brought to me by Mr. McCullough.
The historical context of what was happening in France/Europe and the U.S.
The changes Napoleon made to Paris. Few know the impact he had on the French capitol.
There were many.
I wish this would also have addressed the American's in Paris during the early part of the twentieth century as well. Mostly the many writers who also loved the city. Perhaps there would be enough there for another book.
David McCullough’s books have been some of my favorite listens. This, however, was not one of them. I stopped listening part way through. I was not engaged by the stories of the individuals he choose to portray.
The narration is good.
Herrmann's voice is perfect for this genre of audiobook: informative, theatrical (just enough), unique blend of educated yet approachable American dialect.
The stories retold and historical events and locations described have given me a new list of places I must now visit in France and in the US.
The book bridges French and American histories during the 19th century...a unique perspective is to see the American response to French happenings and vice versa.
A very good example of McCullough's storytelling style with great previously unknown facts.
How the author and reader bring the characters and Paris to life during this time period.
Can't think of one, but it was a great background for reading Les Miserables afterward.
No, but I look forward to doing so.
Not really, but I enjoyed learning about Morse the most.
Highly recommend - definitely not a dry history lesson.
Edward Hermmann's voice, stable and interested, testifies to why he was selected to play the role of Franklin Roosevelt back in his earlier days. Mc Cullough's review takes the art historian, and also the medical historian, into a world that grounded two nascent American arts. I only wish the study had continued on into the period of Gertrude Stein and Hemmingway. It's not clear to me why he didn't. Editor's push? One small note, McCullough decribes the Cassatt as a rather modest Philadelphia family. If you have ever seen the Cassatt estate in Rosemont, you would have to wonder about Mc Cullough's definition.
taking off the headphones. The story was not meant for listening. It was dry and disjointed. more like a history text book of several real life individuals.
booooring. And I like Edw Herrmann. I think he may be over the hill.
Despite the fact that I'm an avid admirer of the history of the French and their culture, this book dragged on far too long and the subject matter at times pointless.
Well yes, he is a respected historian.
However, I will be more cautious of future purchases.
Fascinating, accessible and quite enjoyable. I found this history of Americans in Paris from 1830 to 1900, a subject about which I knew very little, wonderful and thought provoking. McCullough's style is colorful, and avuncular and the structure is reminiscent of a Ken Burns documentary; using hundreds of personal letters and diaries to create portraits of a city and those who came there to work, study and create.
The author seems to favor artists and writers, though his chapters covering politics and medicine are just as interesting and at times much more gripping. A huge fan of John Singer Sargent, I loved the chapter detailing the painting of El Jaleo, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and Madame X, though I also found myself equally fascinated with the lives of Samuel Morse, Charles Sumner and Elihu Washburne. (I had to stop and google more biographical details after I read each chapter.)
I chose The Greater Journey for two reasons; because I am reading up on Paris and because I admire the artists discussed. I came away impressed by McCullough's view that a great deal of our own young country's history was informed by the experiences of the of those who made that 'greater' journey.
The first chapter is actually read by McCullough, whose familiar voice is showing signs of age. Edward Hermann does a brilliant job on the rest, well paced and entertaining.
Nearly the entire living world is aware of David McCullough's talents as a writer. As someone who enjoys US History, this book was a natural selection after having enjoyed Mr. McCullough's previous efforts. What surprised me was how this book brought me to life in the 19th century. The books description of places and events had me believing I was there. What greater gift can an author give than extended life? After listening to The Greater Journey, Mr. McCullough has me feeling as if I've lived nearly 200 years. What a marvelous gift!
Sharing Paris with some of the greatest American writers, philosophers, artists, sculptors, and physicians is a unique privilige that only someone of Mr. McCullough's talents can bring so vividly to life.