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A Great Journey
David McCullough has crafted a book full of well-defined characters who live and work in a well-imagined setting, and compelling action sequences that make this a real page-turner. But, wait! This isn’t a novel? No, it’s history written in a most readable style. McCullough has a way of drawing in the reader to care about his subjects, so that the circumstances move the story along. Through the course of the book I learned about the history of Paris from 1830 through 1900 and the American artists, architects, sculptors, writers, and physicians who studied and worked in Paris during that time. There are no dry dates and data here, but there is plenty of insight into how the arts are learned and created. I found the art and photographic reproductions a great bonus as I was introduced to figures I never knew before and as I read about figures I thought I knew already.
How France influenced America
Take some of the most important American authors, artists, doctors, and other historical figures that lived in France for some period of time during the mid-1800's to early 1900's, and you have a really remarkable book about how France influenced America -- for the better. First of all, I am a huge fan of David McCullough. I didn't know that this book would be so interesting and full of fascinating history. I particularly enjoyed the stories involving James Fenimore Cooper and John Singer Sargent. But this book has so much more. I recommend it highly.