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The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
May 26, 2011
About the Author – David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other widely praised books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
About the Book – “The Greater Journey is a book I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and to a degree it comes out of a conviction that history is a lot more than just politics and the military. Since I was a boy I’ve been fascinated with Paris and the experiences of American artists and musicians, writers, students of medicine and architecture, who took it upon themselves to go there when that wasn’t easy and who brought home so much of immense value to all of us. This is a big part of the American story, much of which has been too long overlooked. What amazing men and women they were and what a journey they had!”— David McCullough
The Greater Journey is a chronicle spanning generations of the many gifted young Americans, ambitious to excel, whose time in Paris—from 1830 to 1900—changed their lives and thus the course of American literature, medicine, art, architecture, music and dance.
As David McCullough writes, “Not all pioneers went west,” and his book is a powerful narrative of those who had the initiative and were willing to face the adversities entailed in an entirely new experience, not just for their own improvement but to benefit their country. Many of these central characters are well known—James Fenimore Cooper, Samuel F. B. Morse, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Cassatt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Others are less so, like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the United States, the pianist Moreau Gottschalk, and Elihu Washburne, whose experience through the Siege of Paris is one readers will never forget.