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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

The Greater Journey

CHAPTER ONE


Image

THE WAY OVER


The thought of going abroad makes my heart leap.

CHARLES SUMNER

I


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.

They were the first wave of talented, aspiring Americans bound for Paris in what, by the 1830s, had become steadily increasing numbers. They were not embarking in any diplomatic or official capacity—not as had, say, Benjamin Franklin or John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, in earlier days. Neither were they in the employ of a manufacturer or mercantile concern. Only one, a young writer, appears to have been in anybody’s pay, and in his case it was a stipend from a New York newspaper. They did not see themselves as refugees or self-imposed exiles from an unacceptable homeland. Nor should they be pictured as traveling for pleasure only, or in expectation of making some sort of social splash abroad.

They had other purposes—quite specific, serious pursuits in nearly every case. Their hopes were high. They were ambitious to excel in work that mattered greatly to them, and they saw time in Paris, the experience of Paris, as essential to achieving that dream—though, to be sure, as James Fenimore Cooper observed when giving his reasons for needing time in Paris, there was always the possibility of “a little pleasure concealed in the bottom of the cup.”

They came from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Ohio, North Carolina, Louisiana, nearly all of the twenty-four states that then constituted their country. With few exceptions, they were well educated and reasonably well off, or their parents were. Most, though not all, were single men in their twenties, and of a variety of shapes and sizes. Oliver Wendell Holmes, as an example, was a small, gentle, smiling Bostonian who looked even younger than his age, which was twenty-five. His height, as he acknowledged good-naturedly, was five feet three inches “when standing in a pair of substantial boots.” By contrast, his friend Charles Sumner, who was two years younger, stood a gaunt six feet two, and with his sonorous voice and serious brow appeared beyond his twenties.

A few, a half dozen or so, were older than the rest by ten years or more, and they included three who had already attained considerable reputation. The works of James Fenimore Cooper, and especially The Last of the Mohicans, had made him the best-known American novelist ever. Samuel F. B. Morse was an accomplished portrait painter. Emma Willard, founder of Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary, was the first woman to have taken a public stand for higher education for American women.

Importantly also, each of these three had played a prominent part in the triumphant return to the United States of the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. Cooper had helped organize the stupendous welcome given Lafayette on his arrival in New York. Morse had painted Lafayette’s portrait for the City of New York, and a visit to Emma Willard’s school at Troy had been a high point of Lafayette’s tour of the Hudson Valley. All three openly adored the old hero, and a desire to see him again had figured in each of their decisions to sail for France.

Cooper had departed well ahead of the others, in 1826, when he was thirty-seven, and had taken with him his wife and five children ranging in age from two to thirteen, as well as a sixteen-year-old nephew. For a whole family to brave the North Atlantic in that day was highly unusual, and especially with children so young. “My dear mother was rather alarmed at the idea,” the oldest of them, Sue, would remember. According to Cooper, they were bound for Europe in the hope of improving his health—his stomach and spleen had “got entirely out of trim”—but also to benefit the children’s education.

As their ship set sail from New York, a man on board a passing vessel, recognizing Cooper, called out, “How long do you mean to be absent?” “Five years,” Cooper answered. “You will never come back,” the man shouted. It was an exchange Cooper was never to forget.

Morse, who had suffered the sudden death of his wife, sailed alone late in 1829, at age thirty-eight, leaving his three young children in the care of relatives.

Emma Hart Willard, a widow in her late forties, was setting off in spite of the common understanding that the rigors of a voyage at sea were unsuitable for a woman of refinement, unless unavoidable, and certainly not without an appropriate companion. She, however, saw few limitations to what a woman could do and had built her career on the premise. Her doctor had urged the trip in response to a spell of poor health—sea air had long been understood to have great curative effect for almost anything that ailed one—but it would seem she needed little persuading.

In addition to establishing and running her school, Mrs. Willard had written textbooks on geography and history. Her History of the United States, or Republic of America had proven sufficiently profitable to make her financially independent. She was a statuesque woman of “classic features”—a Roman nose gave her a particularly strong profile—and in her role as a schoolmistress, she dressed invariably in the finest black silk or satin, her head crowned with a white turban. “She was a splendid looking woman, then in her prime, and fully realized my idea of a queen,” remembered one of her students. “Do your best and your best will be growing better,” Mrs. Willard was fond of telling them.

Leaving the school in the care of her sister, she boarded her ship for France accompanied by her twenty-year-old son John, ready to face whatever lay ahead. To see Europe at long last, to expand her knowledge that way, was her “life’s wish,” and she was determined to take in all she possibly could in the time allotted, to benefit not only herself and her students, but the women of her country.

Oliver Wendell Holmes—Wendell as he was known—was also going in serious pursuit of learning. A graduate of Harvard and a poet, he had already attained fame with his “Old Ironsides,” a poetic tribute to the USS Constitution that had helped save the historic ship from the scrap heap:

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!

Long has it waved on high,

And many an eye has danced to see

That banner in the sky;

Beneath it rung the battle shout,

And burst the cannon’s roar;—

The meteor of the ocean air

Shall sweep the clouds no more.

He had “tasted the intoxicating pleasure of authorship,” as he would write, but feeling unsuited for a literary life only, he had tried law school for a year, then switched to medicine. It was to complete his medical training that he, with several other young men from Boston, set off for Paris, then widely regarded as the world’s leading center of medicine and medical training.

Among the others were James Jackson, Jr., and Jonathan Mason Warren, the sons of Boston’s two most prominent physicians, James Jackson and John Collins Warren, who had founded the Massachusetts General Hospital. For both these young men, going to Paris was as much the heart’s desire of their fathers as it was their own.

Wendell Holmes, on the other hand, had to overcome the strong misgivings of a preacher father for whom the expense of it all would require some sacrifice and who worried exceedingly over what might become of his son’s morals in such a notoriously licentious place as Paris. But the young man had persisted. If he was to be “anything better than a rural dispenser of pills and powders,” he said, he needed at least two years in the Paris hospitals. Besides, he craved relief from the “sameness” of his life and the weight of Calvinism at home. Recalling the upbringing he, his sisters, and his brother had received, Holmes later wrote, “We learned nominally that we were a set of little fallen wretches, exposed to the wrath of God by the fact of that existence which we could not help. I do not think we believed a word of it. …”

Charles Sumner had closed the door on a nascent Boston law practice and borrowed $3,000 from friends to pursue his scholarly ambitions on his own abroad. As a boy in school, he had shown little sign of a brilliant career. At Harvard he had been well-liked but far from distinguished as a scholar. Mathematics utterly bewildered him. (Once, when a professor besieged him with questions, Sumner pleaded no knowledge of mathematics. “Mathematics! Mathematics!” the professor exclaimed. “Don’t you know the difference? This is not mathematics. This is physics.”) But Sumner was an ardent reader, and in law school something changed. He became, as said, “an indefatigable and omnivorous student,” his eyes “inflamed by late reading.” And he had not slackened since. From boyhood he had longed to see Europe. He was determined to learn to speak French and to attend as many lectures as possible by the celebrated savants at the College of the Sorbonne.

Such ardent love of learning was also accompanied by the possibility of practical advantages. Only a few years earlier, Sumner’s friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had returned from a sojourn in Europe with a sufficient proficiency in French, S... --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"An epic of ideas, as well as an exhilirating book of spells . . . This is history to be savored."
(Stacy Schif The New York Times Book Review)

“An ambitious, wide-ranging study of how being in Paris helped spark generations of American genius. . . . A gorgeously rich, sparkling patchwork, eliciting stories from diaries and memoirs to create the human drama McCullough depicts so well.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A lively and entertaining panorama. . . . By the time he shows us the triumphant Exposition Universelle in 1889, witnessed through the eyes of such characters as painters John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri, we share McCullough's enthusiasm for the city and his affection for the many Americans who improved their lives, their talent and their nation by drinking at the fountain that was Paris.”
—Michael Sims, The Washington Post

"From a dazzling beginning that captures the thrill of arriving in Paris in 1830 to the dawn of the 20th century, McCullough chronicles the generations that came, saw and were conquered by Paris. . . . The Greater Journey will satisfy McCullough's legion of loyal fans . . . it will entice a whole new generation of Francophiles, armchair travelers and those Americans lucky enough to go to Paris before they die."
—Bruce Watson, The San Francisco Chronicle


"McCullough's skill as a storyteller is on full display. . . . The idea of telling the story of the French cultural contribution to America through the eyes of a generation of aspiring artists, writers and doctors is inspired. . . a compelling and largely untold story in American history."
—Kevin J. Hamilton, The Seattle Times


"There is not an uninteresting page here as one fascinating character after another is explored at a crucial stage of his development. . . . Wonderful, engaging writing full of delighting detail."
—John Barron, Chicago Sun-Times


“McCullough’s research is staggering to perceive, and the interpretation he lends to his material is impressive to behold. . . . Expect his latest book to ascend the best-seller lists and be given a place on the year-end best lists.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“A highly readable and entertaining travelogue of a special sort, an interdisciplinary treat from a tremendously popular Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. . . . Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review)

“For more than 40 years, David McCullough has brought the past to life in books distinguished by vigorous storytelling and vivid characterizations. . . . . McCullough again finds a slighted subject in The Greater Journey, which chronicles the adventures of Americans in Paris. . . . Wonderfully atmospheric.”
—Wendy Smith, Los Angeles Times


“McCullough has hit the historical jackpot. . . . A colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A rich and enjoyable literary experience. There are reminders on almost every page why Mr. McCullough is one of the nation's great popular historians."
—Claude R. Marx, The Washington Times


"McCullough wants us to know more than just the dry facts of our country's history; he wants us to the share the vivid emotional experience of those who inhabited it. . . . [he] reminds us of that with each shimmering, resonant page he writes. . . . The Greater Journey is the exhilarating story of what Americans learned [in Paris]."
—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Détails sur le produit

  • CD
  • Editeur : Simon & Schuster Audio; Édition : Unabridged (24 mai 2011)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1442344180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442344181
  • Dimensions du produit: 15,1 x 12,9 x 3,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Greater Journey 19 janvier 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Excellent! Très bien écrit et passionnant. Une foule de détails. On apprend beaucoup concernant différentes périodes de l'histoire française des 18e et 19e siècle, vu de l'optique de gens intélligents et cultivés qui viennent de l'extérieur.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris 1 août 2012
Par Franileg
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Livre remarquable. Dès que l'on commence la lecture de cet ouvrage, on ne peut plus le quitter. Très belle écriture simple et claire, sources historiques irréprochables, objectivité absolue, c'est une mine d'informations tant pour l'histoire américaine par les Américain(e)s venus en France - à l'époque hélas révolue où la France éclairait le monde - que pour l'Histoire de France proprement dite.
Je l'ai déjà prêté à deux personnes qui ont adoré ce livre. A lire et relire, à offrir sans hésiter aux Français qui s'intéressent aux USA.
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Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
J'ai rarement appris autant de choses intéressantes qu'à la lecture de ce livre.
Il n'est pas ennuyeux du tout (à part la fin qui est un peu longue) et le style est clair et vivant. Qui aurait dit que je réviserais mon histoire de France de manière aussi agréable et par le biais d'un livre américain!
Sans compter la foule de choses qu'on apprend par aillleurs - par exemple l'origine du mot "barnum" !
Dommage que ce livre n'ait pas été traduit en français (à moins qu'il le soit entre temps)
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 informatif 18 septembre 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
le livre est long mais j'ai appris plein de choses sur Paris que je ne savais pas et le fait que ce soit des lettres écrites par des américains vivant à Paris l'a rendue doublement intéressant, je l'ai déjà prêté à un ami.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  561 commentaires
957 internautes sur 985 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Masterful Writer McCullough Makes 19th Century Paris Come ALIVE - FIVE STARS !!!!! 24 mai 2011
Par Richad of Connecticut - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Every time David McCullough puts his fingers to the typewriter that he uses to write with, he seems to transform our understanding of the topic he is studying. Whether it was President Harry Truman or for me Mornings on Horseback, I have walked away from his books with an enlightened feel for the topic that I have only been able to achieve with very few authors. James Michener is one who comes to mind immediately.

With this book, The Greater Journey, the author has now thoroughly engaged the reader with a topic seldom written about but very deserving of study. It is only natural that we as Americans feel we live in a self centered world; after all we have 2 vast oceans that have protected our shores from invasion for several centuries, and probably will for several more. It simply does not occur to us that since our beginnings, many Americans have chosen to spend considerable time abroad, and in some cases decades of their lives.

During the 1800's and specifically from 1830 until 1900, there was a wave of intellectual migration that headed not west to America, but east to Paris, France from America. Keep in mind that we now sit in a country that is preeminent in the world, financially, intellectually, and probably culturally as well. Back then, we were just forming as a nation. The Indian wars were still in process, and the Civil War would also take place, which became the second re-creation of the United States. McCullough is totally aware of this comparison and makes wise use of it throughout this 456 page book composed of 14 distinct chapters separated into 3 parts, followed by a wonderful epilogue, and a very useful bibliography. The author understands history, and is always mindful of the relative positions of different nations. During this period we were not yet the top dog that we were to become after World War I. Europe still controlled the world's greatest universities and they were already centuries old.

If you are going to read this book in a physical format as opposed to the Kindle digital version, you are in for a treat because the paper chosen is exquisite, and the font selection is superb. If you are an older reader as I am, you will appreciate the time that was taken to design the book appropriately for readers that still relish a physically well made book, and that's what we have here.

This is the story of a 70 year period in the history of Paris, and the scores of Americans who occupied it, lived there, and helped participate in the transformation of what is called the city of light. It is also the story of scores of for want of a better word can be called expatriate Americans, although many of them did return to their native United States at different times.

McCullough is one of the few authors who truly captures the essence of an environment and then proceeds to envelop it with a reality that absorbs and perhaps even demands our attention as readers. His description of the relationship between James Fennimore Cooper and Samuel F.B. Morse and their joy in living in this magnificent city and the effects it had on their work will remain in the reader's soul for many years after the book is put back on the shelf. When Morse painted his masterpiece, it was done in Paris, and perhaps after reading this book, one realizes it could only have been done in Paris.

The city of lights already had vast boulevards, and extraordinary parks decades before the United States designed them. Indeed, New York City's Central Park which would be created later in the century would take much from Paris, and other European cities. The Americans who would go to Paris and spend years there would recall later after returning to the United States the joy of the parks, the energy of the city itself and the sheer unequalled cultural delights that embodied Paris. Visually we can still see much of this in the work of the Impressionist School of painting.

I found the author's handling of Mary Cassatt, who was a Philadelphia born daughter of American socialites who went on to be an illustrious painter as a principal part of the Impressionist school, to be particularly well done. Her relationship to Edgar Degas the renowned painter of the ballet and horses, as well as landscaping is thoroughly chronicled in the book. McCullough's ability to weave life into life, with Paris as the focal point constantly holding the book together in such a way that the reader feels compelled to continue to read, not pausing to eat is what in the end keeps the author at the pinnacle of his profession today.

It is obvious that this book was a labor of love for the author. It comes shining through with the admiration that McCullough holds for both Oliver Wendell Homes the American medical student in Paris, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, a name we all recognize. He even takes the time to take us through the time that Mark Twain spent in this wonderful city.

Not only was Paris transformed by the Americans that occupied it during this century, but Paris itself went through extraordinary changes and development. Kings re-invented the city several times during this century. Vast numbers of poor were displaced and sent to the country. It was invaded during this period as well. Later vast tree lined streets and boulevards would be created that became the envy of Europe. The Louvre would be increased in size enormously in an attempt to make it the most important museum on the entire continent, and France would succeed in this effort.

McCullough intertwines the story of Paris, its growth, its impact on the Americans and what the Americans brought back to America as a result, into a book in such an imaginative way that the reader will find himself revisiting this book from time to time. In the end the book is riveting, and this is a phrase I find myself continuing to use every time I pick up a book written by this author.

Many lives are captured in this masterpiece. They include George Healy the portrait painter, Nathaniel Hawthorne whose writings still continue to occupy many a college freshman's late nights, and future American Senator Charles Sumner who would have his views on slavery refined while living in Paris. Indeed he became an abolitionist as a result of his Parisian experience.

CONCLUSION:

Prior to reading The Greater Journey, I believed I had a good understanding of 19th century Paris. Having studied the art of that period, going to the Louvre, and sitting in on lectures dealing with Paris in the 1800's, I looked forward to seeing what this author could add to the story. I did not expect what I got, which was to have him blow away my understanding and replace it with something that came alive and stood on many different legs of understanding, but isn't that what great writing can do. It can simply make things come alive again. You feel as though you are there, and McCullough puts us right there in the thick of the action.

Although it is not the whole story, if you have any interest at all in understanding the transformative art period that was the Impressionist movement it is vividly captured here in the lives of Augustus Saint-Gaudens with John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt. David McCullough is already an acclaimed author with two Pulitzers and two national Book Awards, and it looks like with this book, he's got another Pulitzer coming down the pike. Thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck
177 internautes sur 178 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 McCullough Leaves The 18th Century Behind 27 mai 2011
Par Dai-keag-ity - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
If you read only one sentence of this review, please know that I think The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is downright excellent and I'd highly recommend it!

As much as I enjoyed the books John Adams and 1776, there is something refreshing in seeing living treasure David McCullough depart from the 1700s, an era he knows vividly, and take a tromp through fresh ground. The Greater Journey was so good, so flowing and fast-paced I read through it a little too quickly, in one day to be exact, and emerged with the feeling that I cheated myself of what more properly should have been a lingering experience. Therefore, I plan to read it again in smaller bits in the near future!

That aside, this was among the more interesting history books I've opened in a long while. McCullough's style has never seemed sharper, more conversational, more authoritative or more learned. Where else is the City of Lights examined in such minute detail and from quite this angle? The museums, the streets, the gardens, the parties and salons, and most of all the people, natives and American alike are examined under the microscopic gaze of this finest of living historians. What emerges is an explanation of why Paris was so alluring then as today, and how their time spent there, often brief visits, shaped some of America's leading personages into the figures they went on to be in life. So many famous names leap out from these pages that it proves a who's who of a time and place. The life stories here are as good as biographies anywhere, and there's something to be learned on just about every page as McCullough makes time for many asides and anecdotes about those who passed through the French capital before and during la Belle Époque

To read this book is to feel a part of Paris 150 years ago, and that is the highest praise I think it is possible to give any historian! Well done, David McCullough, well done!
234 internautes sur 243 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Greater Journey 24 mai 2011
Par Eskypades - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Ever since I picked up "John Adams", I have been an avid fan of David McCullough. His biography of Harry Truman is perhaps the best one I've ever read. McCullough has a knack for taking people or things that perhaps have escaped the popular limelight (such as the Panama Canal or the Brooklyn Bridge) and writes a completely captivating history of them. You do not simply read a McCullough book, you experience it.

When I first heard that McCullough was penning a new work focusing on the impact that Parisian life had on Americans of the 19th century, I was quite excited to say the least. And when I was offered the chance to do a pre-release review of "The Greater Journey," I was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity. McCullough did not disappoint.

"The Greater Journey" varies in focus from his other works. While the majority of his previous books have focused on political and engineering aspects of American history, "The Greater Journey" instead highlights many of the artistic influences of American history (Adams, Jefferson and Franklin get barely a mention). Although working with a large cast of characters such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mary Cassatt, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Harriet Beecher Stowe, McCullough spotlights a few in more detail. Although Samuel F. B. Morse is more widely known for inventing the telegraph, McCullough spends more time discussing Morse's artistic work in the Louvre. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor of such memorials as the Farragut, Sherman and Robert Gould Shaw Memorials, was greatly influenced by his time in Paris. Of particular interest to me was the account of Elihu Washburne's efforts during the Franco-Prussian War to protect French, American and German citizens. With each of these and others, McCullough writes of how their time in Paris influenced their artistic abilities or, as was the case with Charles Sumner, their political/humanitarian views.

When I first heard of the subject matter of the book, I wasn't sure it would be as interesting as McCullough's other works that dealt with more sweeping changes such as "1776." But while watching an interview of McCullough about the book, he made a statement that convinced me otherwise. He said "History is much more than just politics and generals. History is about life. History is human. And music, art, literature, poetry, theatre, science, the whole realm of the human spirit is all part of history."

As captivating and readable as his other books, "The Greater Journey" offers a unique glimpse of the more cultural side of American history and the huge role Paris life played in shaping this culture. (5/5 stars)

(Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing an electronic copy of this book for review.)
127 internautes sur 134 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 An erratic performance 12 août 2011
Par egreetham - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This study of the profound influence of Paris on the development of American science and art is a very curious book: Frequently a series of unsatisfying vignettes, with an occasionally dazzling series of chapters sharply focused on an individual or a particular set of circumstances--not characteristic of Mr. McCullough's usual writing at all. Also uncharacteristic of this author were factual errors in the first twenty or so pages: Henri II is not buried at Rouen, as Mr. McCullough states, but at Fontevrault Abbey, and Louis Phillipe did not work in Boston as a waiter in an oyster house, although that somehow is a very pleasing idea. (He lived upstairs, and taught French downstairs to young ladies, in the building which later became Boston's Union Oyster House.) When someone errs in something I do know something about, I worry about accuracy in areas I don't know anything about.

The Greater Journey is well worth reading, however, if only for the chapters on medical education in Paris, and how the young Americans who studied medicine there brought back innovative scientific ideas to the United States; for the chapters on Augustus St. Gaudens; but most of all for the chapters on Elihu Washburne, the American minister to France at the time of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune. Mr. Washburne well deserves to be restored to our national memory for his integrity and courage, now perhaps more than ever--an inspiring tale, well told. I wish more of the book were at this level, instead of reading like a very long passenger list for a transatlantic packet or steamer. (I wish Mr. McCullough had included a time line!)

An uncharacteristically spotty job.

PS Don't get this book on Kindle if you'll miss the numerous and beautiful color plates!
53 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Surprisingly Interesting 28 mai 2011
Par JunkyardWisdom - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
When I first heard about the topic of this new McCullough book, I was truly disappointed. He is one of the greatest living American writers of history, perhaps the greatest, so why focus on a few people of modest historical renown who all happened to be in Paris in the 1800's? It didn't seem like a topic with enough pizzazz to keep my interest.

I was wrong. This is a wonderful book that develops the characters (as all McCullough books do) and shows just how fascinating the men and women are. And to understand how their time in Paris shaped America is both clever and intriguing; in fact, it's pure genius by McCullough to see that thread of history. I'm thankful he shared it with the rest of us.

Loved the book and only wish it were longer!
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