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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 listeners say about The Greater Journey

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    16
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    10
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    4
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Performance
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    12
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Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Terrific book, terrible abridgement

I purchased the abridged version in error. I loved what text there was (about half of the unabridged), but the ending was so mysteriously abrupt and unfulfilling that I had to call a friend who had the hard copy and ask him to recite the last four sentences just to make sure that an error in my download was not the problem. He asked me whether I meant for him to read from the last chapter or the epilogue. Epilogue? What epilogue? Apparently there was even more left out than I had realized. Fortunately, the chopped version did not dampen my enthusiasm for this book. In fact, I cannot wait to purchase the unabridged version and listen, this time, to the whole work.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

How years in Paris stretched influential Americans

True confession: I love listening to David McCullough narrate his own books. With the voice of a story-teller and the research of a historian, McCullough introduces us to the journeys of several key American figures who studied in Paris before they were well-known. The hardships and education they found in this beautiful city stretched them in ways that prepared them for later greatness.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thrilling tales of young Americans in Paris

I couldn’t possibly say enough good things about this book. The story of young wildly talented Americans in their early years learning their trades - artists and orators, surgeons and inventors, sculptors and others - what gloriously told tales of their lives and how they became the great men and women of young America. I could listen all over again right this minute.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent narrator. Struggled to finish .

Glad I persevered despite the dryness of the subject matter. Edward Herrmann was an excellent narrator.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Superb Preparation for Historical Visit To Paris

For those of us not familiar with French, audible translation of conversations would have been helpful

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator made listening painful

Would you try another book from David McCullough and/or Edward Herrmann?

By the author, yes we will.

Would you be willing to try another one of Edward Herrmann’s performances?

Never. My husband and I tried to listen on a car trip but had to stop for fear of being put to sleep while driving. Tried speeding up to 1.25 - still no good - even to 1.5 speed, then gave up and am returning the audible book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

We'll be reading it ourselves, as the narration was so bad that even speeding it up didn't make listening bearable.

Any additional comments?

Neither of us can understand why, with so many talented narrators available, a good book was ruined by a truly bad narrator choice. I'm returning it as we couldn't make it past the first 15 minutes. Such a disappointment.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I didn't finish it.

Would you try another book from David McCullough and/or Edward Herrmann?

no.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

don't know, didn't finish it.

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

I haven't listened to others and probably won't I had expected more interesting people and more intrigue, relationships or plot. Seemed like a book of short stories of not so interesting people.

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

I'd expected a book about the great artists who gathered in a Parisian café and to hear their conversations, see their lives and relationships. This read like a history book.