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The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris | [David McCullough]

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.
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Publisher's Summary

The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring - and until now, untold - story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history.

As David McCullough writes, “Not all pioneers went west.”

Nearly all of the Americans profiled here - including Elizabeth Blackwell, James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Harriet Beecher Stowe - whatever their troubles learning French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’s phrase, longed “to soar into the blue”. The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece.

©2011 David McCullough (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

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  •  
    Mark Milliorn 10-29-12
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    "Multiple stories woven together very well."

    It's David McCullough. What more do you need?

    You will want to look up the paintings mentioned as you hear about them. Does the print version include copies of the paintings?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Ohr Huntington Beach, CA 09-28-12
    R. Ohr Huntington Beach, CA 09-28-12 Member Since 2007

    hbRN

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    "The music on this sound track"
    Where does The Greater Journey rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I love all of the audible books by McCullough and this one is no exception. It was recommended by a friend and I am grateful to him.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Greater Journey?

    What I enjoy very much about the audible book is the music between chapters. I have several friends trying to identify the song between Chapter one and Chapter two. I would love it if someone could identify it.


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you to Amazon for providing this format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lenita Atchison, KS, USA 09-18-12
    Lenita Atchison, KS, USA 09-18-12 Member Since 2008
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    "the amazing David McCullough does it again`"
    What made the experience of listening to The Greater Journey the most enjoyable?

    This discovery of Paris through the eyes of 19th century artists, doctors, politicians is breathtaking


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Greater Journey?

    Being in the Louvre alongside "Findley" Morse


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The one down side to his enjoyable read is the mangled French pronunciation


    Any additional comments?

    We also bought the hard-bound book to be able to enjoy photos of the players and their paintings as McCullough spoke of them. A truly masterful work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sebastian United States 09-08-12
    Sebastian United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I wanted to be in 19th century Paris too!"
    Would you listen to The Greater Journey again? Why?

    Yes I will, because I want to come back to the historical passages I am not as familiar with such as the remarkable story of US Ambassador Elihu Washburne, the tribulations of the medical students in Paris, or simply the rise of all those American artists who did their training in Paris.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Oh publishers what were you thinking? Yes Hermann is a good narrator but he butchers French in a book that takes place in Paris! This is the usual complaint about a narrator who does not know the language or regional peculiarities of where the book takes place. There is a passage in the book in which an American's awful accent got him out of a pickle, the joke there got quite lost I can assure you. Fortunately there are long passages in American where one can appreciate Hermann's narration.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    David McCullough does know how to build up tension. There are artist so well known still today that we know how well or poorly they did, but many more whom we are not so sure about and McCullough knows how to take the reader along on the discovery of the outcome of the life of Augustus Saint Gaudens and many others.
    There are places such as the Cathedral in Rouen, (on the way from the harbor at Le Havres to Paris), that entranced so many visitors that you want to go see it too, there is the Louvres and you want to discover for yourself what Harriet Beecher Stowe found so mesmerizing in the Raft of the Medusa and go see what James Fenimore Cooper and his friend Morse saw.


    Any additional comments?

    The book starts off a bit dull, but hang in there by the time you get to the chapters on the Americans students in medicine you will not be able to put it down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Marion, IA, United States 09-02-12
    Alan Marion, IA, United States 09-02-12 Member Since 2002

    Although I am left-handed, I play the piano right-handed.

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    "McCullough and Herrmann ... and boring? huh?"
    What disappointed you about The Greater Journey?

    gosh. I would normally recommend that everyone read everything by David McCullough and listen to nearly everything read by Edward Herrmann. So how could this go wrong? But after several weeks trying, I just couldn't maintain any interest in this book and gave up on it. dang.


    Has The Greater Journey turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I always enjoy the narration of David McCullough. Clearly one of the greatest ever.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment. Couldn't maintain any interest in the various biographies of prominent Americans who spent time in Paris in the 19th century.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I didn't have to give a low rating to a book by David McCullough. I heartily recommend everything else he has written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph Ukiah, CA, United States 08-06-12
    Ralph Ukiah, CA, United States 08-06-12
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    "Better Than a Textbook"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick United States 08-06-12
    Nick United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "McCullough's Journey"
    What did you love best about The Greater Journey?

    The historical context of what was happening in France/Europe and the U.S.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Greater Journey?

    The changes Napoleon made to Paris. Few know the impact he had on the French capitol.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Berkeley, CA, USA 08-04-12
    Frances Berkeley, CA, USA 08-04-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Not one of his best books"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erick N. Larson Os, Hordaland Norway 07-30-12
    Erick N. Larson Os, Hordaland Norway 07-30-12 Member Since 2012

    EN Larson

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    "Entertaining presentation of unknown histories!"
    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Herrmann's voice is perfect for this genre of audiobook: informative, theatrical (just enough), unique blend of educated yet approachable American dialect.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Towson, MD, United States 06-06-12
    Ruth Towson, MD, United States 06-06-12
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    "Excellent - an engrossing read!"
    What did you love best about The Greater Journey?

    How the author and reader bring the characters and Paris to life during this time period.


    What other book might you compare The Greater Journey to and why?

    Can't think of one, but it was a great background for reading Les Miserables afterward.


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I look forward to doing so.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really, but I enjoyed learning about Morse the most.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend - definitely not a dry history lesson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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