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
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.
This book captured life in Paris as viewed by the many Americans who went there to learn. I frequently found myself searching the web for images and works of many of these people. I certainly will appreciate the artwork of many of the American artists more, having read about their lives and their art.
This is another gem of historical writing from McCullough. It was slow at first, but as you get into it, you find a plethora of fascinating stories about some of our nation's most creative geniuses. Thanks to McCullough, we can better appreciate the life of Samuel Morse; an artist as well as an inventor. I found myself going to web searches almost every day to look at the works of the many artists who went to Paris in the 1800s. Even more revealing is the fresh look we get at one of the world's most captivating cities.
McCullough's exceedingly well researched book covers a space in time - Paris in the 19th century and very specifically, the activity of Americans in Paris - which is mostly obscured by fin de siecle events. Edward Herrmann's read of it makes it even that much better - I wish he did reading of more audiobooks that I've gotten. Given the many vignettes interwoven throughout the book, it is easy to listen to the book for short periods of time, and come back to it to re-engage.
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