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

The Greater Journey by David McCullough
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Sep 17, 2012

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Read in September, 2012

This 456-page book got off to such a slow start that I was ready to give up on it even though I was reading it for one of my book discussion groups. The first 100 pages or so recount in excruciating detail the lives of some young Americans who go to Paris to live beginning aroun 1830. Their lives were of such little interest to me that I had decided to attend the discussion without finishing the book--something I never do. I would read a few pages and get so bored with the book that I would read a different book then go back to this one only to be bored again.

However, over the weekend I decided to give it one more final try and finished it. I found Parts II and III to be more interesting than Part I. Parts II and III detail the lives in Paris of Mary Cassat and John Singer Sargent as well as several others American artists living, studying, and working in Paris. Too much of the book is devoted Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his wife Augusta, although some of the material about him is interesting. The book contains 32 pages of pictures, which add interest to the book, but the author describes some of the pictures in meticulous detail when we can look at them for ourselves.

One has to wonder for what audience the author wrote this book. I doubt that it would be of interest to serious historians, who have probably studied the people in the book on their own, and it has far too much detail to be of interest to the casual reader. I wonder also why the author chose to include so many people in this long book instead of writing shorter books about some of the more interesting ones.

McCullough has written at least eight other books and I know that he has a following. I am not interested in reading any more of his books.
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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan i really enjoy your reviews sidna!


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