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The greater journey : Americans in Paris
David McCullough
Adult Nonfiction DC718.A44 M39 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This is a highly readable and entertaining travelog of a special sort, an interdisciplinary treat from a tremendously popular Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. McCullough (John Adams) tells of the many American writers, artists, political figures, etc., who traveled to Paris during the period from 1830 to 1900. Travel was a "wild novelty" to them as they sought to bask in the inspiration of Paris's culture and heritage. McCullough has unearthed the reminiscences and reflections of an amazing array of prominent Americans, including Margaret Fuller, Mary Cassatt, Henry Adams, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Charles Sumner, with results valuable both as a record of personal experiences and, more importantly, for the revelations about the intersection of French and American history in these years, encompassing the French sympathy for the Confederacy, as well as how American ingenuity (the light bulb, telegraph, telephone, even the soda fountain) captivated the French. While McCullough has relied on the letters and journals of many superb writers and cultural figures, his most valuable find for students of political history is the detailed diary kept by diplomat Elihu Washburne during the tumultuous days of the Paris Commune. Verdict Highly recommended and sure to captivate general readers and generalist scholars alike.-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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