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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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What a time what a city

Of course great writing, never a book by the author but what is terrific reading.

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A few of my favorite things.

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.

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Excellent

As always, McCullough did great research and Edward Herrmann did a great job of reading.

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Wonderful!

The backstories this novel presents are amazing! Narrator's flawless French added much to my enjoyment!

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Another well written biography

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.

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  • Traci
  • Wilton, CT, United States
  • 08-17-16

Manages to make life in Paris boring

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, yawn.

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

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.

Any additional comments?

.

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Tres Magnifique

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!

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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!

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  • zachary
  • bahama, NC, United States
  • 05-23-16

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.

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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.