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The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by…

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

by David McCullough

Other authors: Amy Hill (Designer)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,781605,646 (3.92)138

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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Easy to digest, bland history. No firecrackers tossed. No bombs thrown. Just earnest, unsophisticated Americans in Paris in the 1800s. No dancing. Some fooling around. Medical School. Art School. Just hanging. And the French were friendly back then--so says McCullough. ( )
  kerns222 | May 25, 2018 |
I love David McCullough. You can feel his passion for history when reading his works. This book looks at the American presence in Paris during the 19th century. It focuses on the artists, writers, and a cast characters from inventors, to musicians, to politicians. As background, the history of Paris throughout the 19th century is discussed, but the focus always returned to the Americans living there. I think the reason this book is not rated higher by most people (myself included) is that it looks at too many people over too great a time span. It is difficult to follow at times as many of the people discussed are not well known. Another issue is that for someone not used to reading about art history, is it not easy to follow the discussions on art technique and why some art was more appreciated than others. I feel like I learned a lot and would recommend it to people who either love McCullough or this type of history. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
  katbook | Oct 25, 2017 |
Pg 47 — conviction French in Paris — arts are indispensable to enjoyment + meaning of life
P 53 Talk helped shape one's thoughts
Pg 65 Sam Morse ptg "Galleries of the Louvre"
Pg 132 Medical mecca of Paris / Hospitals / Tr / Laboratories
Pg 149 Nativist mov't in America — anti-immigrant, anti-catholic — @ 1834 Amer way of Life threatened by these heads
Pico Spring 1845 — 1st wave American curiosities
Pt. Barnum, George Caitlin — Amer. Indians tales James Fenimore Cooper — "wild America" irresistable
Old yearning among French — primitive + exotic
P. 245 — Augustic (gue) St. Gaudens (1/2 Irish) — reason to be in Paris — measure up to competitions
P 256 — 1869 Suez Canal — France Bldg — US Transcont R.R.
Ferdinand de Lesseps — Bldg
Respect for Artists at Young Age amer. tastes not that well developed
Take Sculpture as art form more seriously in Paris
Pg 406 20 years since Civil War — feats of engineering + construction, Eads Bridge / Brooklyn Bridge
Morse Telegraph, Bell's Telephone, Edison light Bulb
Pg 444 John Adams wrote — I study politics + was so my son can study math, phil, geog + hist so their cldn study Pty poetry music Arch

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.
  christinejoseph | Sep 12, 2017 |
I held off listening to The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough because is 16 CD long. Last night, I played the last one. I think that the theme was too broad a subject. There were definitely parts that I enjoyed but there were others that seemed too long for my attention span. I already knew about the Americans going abroad in the 19th century. My great grandfather traveled to Great Britain and Paris in the 1890s with a group of artist friends. The author starts with the travelers in the 1820s, why they went to Paris, what they found and their reactions to it.

I loved the parts about medicine, especially about Elizabeth Blackwell but felt that there was too much detail about Samuel Morse. Also I appreciated learning what happened to Paris after Napoleon's demise. Those details make me want to read more about the history of that period. However there seems to be too many little stories about people and sometimes it seems that he got stuck on a subject. I am glad that I listened to it but found it a little disappointing. ( )
  Carolee888 | Mar 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Unlike the heroes of the American Revolution, whose experiences Mr. McCullough has already addressed so well, these travelers did not necessarily have diplomatic business in France. They had sights to see, minds to broaden, effusions to emit (“My mind was smitten with a feeling of sublimity almost too intense for mortality,” gushed Emma Willard, who would eventually found her eponymous school in upstate New York) and journals to fill with ecstatic observations about the Louvre, the cuisine and the weather. In trying to establish this as a raison d’être for the book, Mr. McCullough writes that “not all pioneers went west.” He provides a slogan worthy of a movie poster: “At home it was known as the Old World. To them it was all new.” But Mr. McCullough is hard-pressed to sustain the idea of a unified “them” at the heart of his book. So he is forced to make awkward juxtapositions and segues among people who did not cross the Atlantic at the same time (though “everyone knew the perils of the sea”), did not live a shared narrative and did not share all that much common ground. He ends up delivering the kinds of space-filling observations that might not even pass muster in a high-school history paper. This is not the side of Mr. McCullough that has made him a national treasure.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David McCulloughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hill, AmyDesignersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herrmann, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For we constantly deal with practical problems, with moulders, contractors, derricks, stonement, trucks, rubbish, plasterers, and what-not-else, all the while trying to soar into the blue.- Augustus Saint-Gaudens
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They spoke of it then as the dream of a lifetime, and for many, for all the difficulties and setbacks encountered, it was to be one of the best times ever.
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McCullough mixes famous and obscure names and delivers capsule biographies of everyone to produce a colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris.

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