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The Greater Journey Audiobook

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1726 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cathy Smyth 06-20-16
    Cathy Smyth 06-20-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Great preparation for a trip to Paris!"

    This was a terrific introduction to nineteenth century Paris history as I knew virtually nothing! I made many of the sights I saw on my trip to Paris come alive!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    zachary bahama, NC, United States 05-23-16
    zachary bahama, NC, United States 05-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Fairly interesting, very informative."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend the book to anyone with a passing interest in the 19th century artist and scientist of America, and the role France had to play in their development. In scope it is not on par with 'John Adams' or Truman', but enteretaining.


    Would you be willing to try another book from David McCullough? Why or why not?

    Absolutely. he is one of the best biographer and story tellers today.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    His performance was very good, but for some reason I cannot figure out, part of the narration is done by what sounds like a computerized monotone female voice. Her part of it is very small and poorly done that does make one wonder which why Edward Hermann did not narrate the whole thing? Where they just being cheap??


    Any additional comments?

    overall good. not on par with the greats of David McCollough. Good reader except for small snippets done by monotone computerized female voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suea 05-23-16
    Suea 05-23-16 Member Since 2012

    zoeq is a trained chef an innkeeper. Currently she is writing a cookbook for the family cook. She lives in Florida and loves kayaking.

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    "Not at all what I expected"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. Too much time spent on cholera and murders - in detail. I don't think I'll ever be enamored of Paris again.


    What was most disappointing about David McCullough’s story?

    Not enough art and beauty and the inspiration Paris provided. Not enough of the positives of Paris.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Slow to start but then very very listenable. I like this narrator.


    Do you think The Greater Journey needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I wouldn't read it.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm the kind of person that wants to escape through my listening. This book was hard reality and while possibly true to history, it failed to inspire with too much attention to the morbid. I will return it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Middleton, WI, United States 05-05-16
    Peter Middleton, WI, United States 05-05-16 Member Since 2008

    Tell us about yourself!I am an avid reader but enjoy listening while waking to work, ironing, doing dishes, etc. Listening to novels is an entirely different experience than reading; a well narrated story is a cross between drama and written fiction. Listening to books on Audible has been a wonderful experience.

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    "19th Century Euro-American Gossip"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A discussion of the ideas that drove the tumultuous 19th century in France and the Americans' reactions to and against those ideas


    What was most disappointing about David McCullough’s story?

    The absence of the American's view of the seminal events of the 19th century in France: the worker's revolts, the Paris commune, the Dreyfus affair, the effects of Pasteur and P.C.A. Louis on American medical training and practice, the evolution of the wine industry and its restitution by American (Californian) rootstock, the origins of the Franco-Prussian war and the obsession with foreigners as spies (leading to the Dreyfus Affair and anti-semitism during the 20th century), the Algerian issues. There were many topics left out which Americans either participated in or were affected by.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His prononciation of French was poor and that detracted from the impact of the story


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Greater Journey?

    The discussions of Parisian fashion.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert W. Brummond Northern VA 04-30-16
    Robert W. Brummond Northern VA 04-30-16 Member Since 2015

    I listen to audio books as I make the 1 hr commute to and from work. I like to learn so prefer nonfiction, science or history.

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    "Unexpected history lesson"
    Any additional comments?

    You can't go wrong with David McCullough. I must admit, I only recognized a few of the Americans central to the story and didn't realize the back story of the people who's names I did recognize. Great for those interested in US History.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Kahn 04-26-16
    E. Kahn 04-26-16
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    "Wordy"

    The book was fairly interesting and full of anecdotes about famous artists in particular that served as mini biographies. But it was much too long. I simply didn't want to know every detail of the subjects' family lives.

    McCullough was so besotted with his subjects and with Paris that he just couldn't leave anything out.

    Oh yes, then there was the repetition. Why is it that editors don't do their jobs? Proofreading is not enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    felix2012 04-12-16
    felix2012 04-12-16 Member Since 2016
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    "The beginning is best part"

    Compare to experiences of Americans who went to Paris in 20s&30s.
    These were better off economically, thus had different take on Paris -- these travelers seemed too idealistic & had romantic notions of the French & Paris.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SAS Contractor 03-10-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A must-read for all history buffs."

    This book was well researched and filled with material from direct sources; but it 'read' like a novel. Being an art lover I was delighted to hear about the struggle for their art from the heart of the artists. Also very enjoyable was the view of great events in American history as viewed from the outside looking in. Especially interesting to me as well was learning the flow of the various French governments from the Revolution through WWI. The harrowing and heroic experiences of Elihu Washburn made me proud to be an American and elucidated the courage of all who lived in Paris during and right after the Franco-Prussian war. Samuel Morse taught me that one can have a chance at significant contributions to mankind at all stages of life. So much to learn and experience here. An unforgettable read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TravisD 02-28-13
    TravisD 02-28-13 Member Since 2007

    Travis

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    "Learned a Lot and Enjoyed it, too."

    Wow. Learned a lot and really enjoyed this. Little known or recognized historical bios of great significance to America. And, it's David McCullough, for heaven's sake.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Life Work Designer 02-08-13

    A retirement coach, grandmother and active senior who listens to books while walking daily.

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    "A History and Fine Arts Course in a Book"

    Like all McCullough's books, reading The Greater Journey is an educational experience couched in excellent historical non-fiction writing. It would probably be very surprising to many people to learn how much the French contributed to literature, science, the arts and architecture in the 19th and early 20th century. I have not visited Paris but I will have no problem navigating when I do next year. McCullough makes the city alive in my mind and I will be able to picture all of our country's early artists and writers sitting on their stools in the Louvre or on the benches of the parks or in the small studios tucked away on the Left Bank.

    The fact that this book is so long made me happy - I did not want it to end!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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