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Seductive Journey: American Tourists in…

Seductive Journey: American Tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz…

by Harvey Levenstein

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This fascinating book is packed with quotations from published sources and private diaries that segue gracefully into one another to illuminate the changing tastes of American tourists in France from the late eighteenth century until circa 1930. At the same time, it documents the shifting reactions of the French to their American visitors. Particularly intriguing to me were the descriptions of the differences between French and American cultures and lifestyles in the early nineteenth century, and the history of the on-going efforts of race-conscious Americans to undermine French acceptance of racial differences.

The only problem with the book was an occasional tediousness in format. It was rather as if the author lined up index cards with apt quotes on them and then added a few words to create paragraphs on each subject; sometimes it would have been nice to have a subject treated in more depth or to know something about the author of a quotation. That said, there is so much good material here that it is well worth working through the slow parts. ( )
  sallysvenson | Apr 7, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0226473775, Paperback)

For Seductive Journey: American Tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz Age, author Harvey Levenstein--Emeritus professor of history at McMaster University--searched through scores of 18th- and 19th-century travel journals and unearthed numbers of insightful, entertaining, and, at times, extremely embarrassing accounts of Americans in France. Including the well-to-do cultural tourists of the late 1700s, the mid-1800s nouveaux riche recreational types, the "Leisure" travelers of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and finally the "doughboys" that descended on France from 1917 to 1930, Levenstein's intelligent examination of these groups and "the cultural history of going abroad" is an all together enjoyable read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

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