Rdonn's Reviews > The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

The Greater Journey by David McCullough
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Apr 11, 12

Recommended to Rdonn by: Book Club Selection
Read in April, 2012

This is a book that alternately fascinated and bored me!! However the former outweighed the latter. It's full of mini biographies of Americans who lived in Paris and were shaped by their experiences there. The years were from 1830 to 1900. For me the fascinating bios were of artists and they included three of my favorites, Sargent, Whistler, and Cassatt. One of the more important artists that McCullough spent a lot of time on was Augusts Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor. I hadn't realized how important he was, though a few years ago I managed to visit his house in New Hampshire, open to the public, a beautiful place, with a lovely setting. In the early years, you have Samuel F. B. Morse, who actually was a wonderful artist. I visited a teacher once who had a portrait he'd done in her living room, and it was my introduction to Morse as artist. It was beautiful. I also found learning about the medical training of several American doctors in Paris fascinating. We did not having good training hospitals in the early years in America as we do now.
The returnee doctors helped change this in America.

The bits I didn't enjoy were the terrible uprisings, blockades etc. that were so bloody. I knew about the Revolution, and it's bloody aftermath, didn't realize there were other equally bloody periods. So, besides being mini biographies, it is also a history of Paris in those years. It is an important book and I am glad I've read it. I would recommend it to readers interested in Paris, and in our Americans in Paris!
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