Summary of The Greater Journey

Americans in Paris

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The Greater Journey book summary
Americans from all walks of life went to Paris in the 1800s and brought home new ways of thinking.


8 Overall

6 Importance

8 Innovation

10 Style


When you think of Americans in Paris, you might picture Gene Kelly dancing on the banks of the Seine, but a century earlier, Americans were already making their way to the City of Light. From the early 1800s, American artists, writers, social activists, politicians, doctors and more went to Paris to live, study, learn and create. Celebrated historian David McCullough describes their experiences in exquisite detail, making long-forgotten people come vividly to life and placing his readers in the fascinating and sometimes volatile 19th-century French capital. At the same time, he nestles his stories within the US’s dynamic, though affectionate, relationship with the French. getAbstract recommends this intelligent and thought-provoking book to anyone who loves Paris and is intrigued by its long-lasting impact on US culture, art, classical music and geopolitics – not to mention that McCullough is always a great read.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why many talented Americans – future prominent writers, artists, physicians and politicians – traveled to Paris during the 19th century;
  • What they accomplished there; and
  • How their Parisian experiences helped shape American culture.


The City of Light Beckons
During a period of approximately 70 years beginning in the 1820s, many important Americans traveled to Paris to live and work. Some, like author James Fenimore Cooper, were already famous, while others, such as artist George P.A. Healy, were as yet unknown. Although...
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About the Author

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, the author of many bestsellers, has received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom for his distinguished body of work.

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