Americans in Paris
The Greater Journey
Americans in Paris
A Special Audio Presentation of Unabridged Selections
Personally Chosen by David McCullough
The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous
American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in
the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. As David McCullough writes, “Not all pioneers went west.”
Writer Emma Willard, who founded the first women’s college in America, was one of the intrepid bunch.
Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne where he saw black students with the same ambition he had, and when he returned home, he would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate. James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Cooper writing and Morse painting what would be his masterpiece. From something he saw in France, Morse would also bring home his momentous idea for the telegraph. Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all “discovering” Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city’s boulevards and gardens. “At last I have come into a dreamland,” wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom’s Cabin had brought her. The genius of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and painter George Healy would flourish in Paris, inspired by the examples of brillant French masters, and by Paris itself.
For this special audio presentation, McCullough has chosen a selection of portraits, excerpted in their
entirety, that bring us into the lives of these remarkable men and women. A sweeping, fascinating story
told with power and intimacy, The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece.
David McCullough on Americans in Paris in THE GREATER JOURNEY
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Reading Group Guide
“Not all pioneers went west,” writes David McCullough in the beginning pages of The Greater Journey. From the 1820s to 1900, generations of Americans made the pioneering journey across the Atlantic on a mission of learning and accomplishment in the intellectual, scientific, and artistic capital of the western world: Paris. David McCullough tells the story of the generations of Americans whose struggles and discoveries in the City of Light set them on the path to high achievement. James Fenimore Cooper, author of the beloved Deerslayer novels, formed an important lifelong friendship in the halls of the Louvre with Samuel F. B. Morse, the renowned painter and inventor of the telegraph. Charles Sumner, the leading abolitionist U.S. senator, first examined his views on race when he studied at Paris’s diverse Sorbonne. Elihu Washburne, the U.S. Minister to France, performed heroically during the Siege of Paris and the horrors of the Commune, serving Americans and other foreign nationals as the official representative of his country. Augustus S see more