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
I always find myself immersed in David McCullough's storytelling. And I always find I learn so much about the history of people I did not know well. This book is filled with those people and their stories. I would definitely recommend it.
I'm always looking for that well written gem.
I was amazed at how much Paris has affected so many of our greatest Americans. Our nation, so raw and new in the 1800's had nothing like a Paris to draw such inspiration from. America at that time had no libraries or museums or great universities. At that time if you wanted to be the best at what did you had to go to Paris to learn how to do it. Fortunately for us, Paris was there to fire and inspire our best and brightest and they came back to America and became American Masters.
David McCullough immerses you in the Parisian experience and leaves you wanting to buy the next ticket to get to the city. Edward Herrmann is, as always, impeccable.
This book combines art, science, history and Paris into a wonderfully different view of life. It entertained and expanded my knowledge of American history and artists.
Collection of stories of Americans who ventured to Paris in the 19th century - artists, doctors, etc. What they brought back from France and what was given in return by many historical figures that I knew little of. Another reminder why traditional history rote memorization of facts is worthless. The author provides such fascinating background information that makes you feel like you know the people involved and the challenges they faced. Worth the price, especially well done by reader Edward Hermann.
No, I was bored and finally gave up on the book about three quarters of the way through. I wanted to love it since I am obsessed with history and Paris, but I should have known better since I didn't care for 1776, either. As much as I am fascinated by the subjects and times in history David McCoullough chooses to write about, I find his style too factual and dry. Judging by the high Amazon reviews, I am guessing my opinion is not a popular one, but with this and 1776 I felt as if I was listening to a list of facts from research - I can go to wikipedia for that. I want to hear a a compelling story.
I did love the part about doctors working with the poor of Paris and the role doctors and the practice of medicine played in the history of Paris. I would like to read more about that topic.
A stunning and rich series of portraits of American artists, sculptors, inventors, physicians, and other leaders . . . And how their Parisian experiences enriched their lives and their accomplishments. And Eliju B. Washburn is my new humanitarian hero. Thank you, again and again, David McCullough, for all of your books!
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!
Report Inappropriate Content