The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

David McCullough. Simon & Schuster, $37.50 (544p) ISBN 978-1-4165-7176-6
One of America’s most popular historians and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, McCullough (1776) has hit the historical jackpot. Travelers before the telephone era loved to write letters and journals, and McCullough has turned this avalanche of material into an entertaining chronicle of several dozen 19th-century Americans who went to Paris, an immense, supremely civilized city flowing with ideas, the arts, and elegance, where no one spit tobacco juice or defaced public property. They discovered beautiful clothing, delicious food, the art of dining ("The French dine to gratify, we to appease appetite," wrote John Sanderson). Paris had not only pleasures but professional attractions as well. Artists such as Samuel F.B. Morse, Whistler, Sargent, and Cassatt came to train. At a time when American medical education was fairly primitive, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and other prospective physicians studied at the Sorbonne’s vast hospitals and lecture halls—with tuition free to foreigners. Authors from Cooper to Stowe, Twain, and James sometimes took up residence. 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. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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FORMATS
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-4416-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-4418-1
Hardcover - 978-1-4104-3820-1
Paperback - 558 pages
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