Download The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris Audiobook

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris Audiobook, by David McCullough Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David McCullough Narrator: David McCullough, Edward Herrmann Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2011 ISBN: 9781442344174
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,566 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough—the inspiring, enthralling story of the American painters, writers, sculptors, and doctors who journeyed to Paris between 1830 and 1900.

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. 

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “An epic of ideas, as well as an exhilirating book of spells...This is history to be savored.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A lively and entertaining panorama...By the time he shows us the triumphant Exposition Universelle in 1889, witnessed through the eyes of such characters as painters John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri, we share McCullough’s enthusiasm for the city and his affection for the many Americans who improved their lives, their talent, and their nation by drinking at the fountain that was Paris.” 

    Washington Post

  • “For more than forty years, David McCullough has brought the past to life in books distinguished by vigorous storytelling and vivid characterizations...Wonderfully atmospheric.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “From a dazzling beginning that captures the thrill of arriving in Paris in 1830 to the dawn of the twentieth century, McCullough chronicles the generations that came, saw, and were conquered by Paris...The Greater Journey will satisfy McCullough’s legion of loyal will entice a whole new generation of Francophiles, armchair travelers, and those Americans lucky enough to go to Paris before they die.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “There is not an uninteresting page here as one fascinating character after another is explored at a crucial stage of his development...Wonderful, engaging writing full of delighting detail.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “McCullough’s skill as a storyteller is on full display...The idea of telling the story of the French cultural contribution to America through the eyes of a generation of aspiring artists, writers, and doctors is inspired...a compelling and largely untold story in American history.” 

    Seattle Times

  • “McCullough has hit the historical jackpot...A colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “This splendid production of McCullough’s history of Americans in Paris in the 1800s gives the royal treatment to one of our nation’s most esteemed historians—and most identifiable voices...Edward Herrmann’s sterling voice is compatible with McCullough’s familiar syntax and manner of inflection...The text itself is prismatic, moving through a cast of representative figures that include novelists, painters, and physicians—many well known, many obscure...This is popular history at its best.”


  • “McCullough’s research is staggering to perceive, and the interpretation he lends to his material is impressive to behold.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A highly readable and entertaining travelogue of a special sort, an interdisciplinary treat from a tremendously popular Pulitzer Prize–winning historian...Highly recommended.” 

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “An ambitious, wide-ranging study of how being in Paris helped spark generations of American genius...A gorgeously rich, sparkling patchwork.” 

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A USA Today bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A #1 New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

Write a Review
  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 2/18/2014

    " I am a big fan of the author - have read nearly everything - and this was a favorite. It offers a unique perspective on the 19 the century with portraits of so many people you've heard of - who is that again? - and want to remember. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ccboswell | 2/3/2014

    " A great book! Worth reading twice if visiting Paris. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Spencer | 1/21/2014

    " David McCullough is probably my favorite author, so it pains me to only give this book 3 stars. In reality, it's probably 3.5 stars, and I would had rated it higher if I didn't have such high expectations for McCullough's books. (His books "The Great Bridge" and "Truman" are both in my top five favorite books ever). Having said all that, this was still a very enjoyable and incredibly readable book. The book shares many mini-biographies of Americans who spend time studying, apprenticing, living, working, etc., in Paris during the 19th century. Stories are told of famous painters, sculptors, authors, doctors, thinkers, etc. that were positively influenced by their experiences in Paris. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the doctors and the advanced (for the time) training they received in France compared to what was available in the States. The chapters on the unsettled political revolts in France were also very interesting, and covered a time period I had not read anything about before. My one critique on this book is that the overall flow of the book was a little choppy. Meaning, there wasn't a solid overall storyline, but rather a collection of short biographical stories, that sometimes did not all fit well together. Still, a very enjoyable book that I enjoyed, but I would recommend several of McCullough's other books as being much better than this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristie | 1/18/2014

    " Another great work by McCullough. This book instantly transports you to Paris in a time where American's were fascinated with it's art, culture and general way of life. The book reads like a novel, which is no easy task for non-fiction. The characters are instantly brought to life as the story of why they journeyed to Paris is unveiled. I found myself lost in their lives and longing for an experience such as theirs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susanne | 1/17/2014

    " I really loved this book. I loved the descriptions of Paris during the years the book covers, sometimes more than the story of want various Americans were doing there! I got my Paris maps out and tracked down where various Americans lived and worked, as I read. Lots of "Oh, I've been to that neighborhood" moments! There was also a lot about the "Siege of Paris" by the Germans in 1870, which I had little knowledge of. Interesting personalities in one of my favorite cities - a very enjoyable read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 1/16/2014

    " Enjoyed reading about one of my favorite cities and it's role in the development of so many American artists, doctors and diplomats. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 12/24/2013

    " Not his best, but good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginny | 12/16/2013

    " Slow start, but very interesting overall. Made me want to go to Paris so bad! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 11/21/2013

    " Another awesome read and tremendous learning experience delivered by McCullough! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 D | 11/6/2013

    " Pleasant and interesting read of Americans visiting and learning and working in Paris in the 1800s. It does give the reader a good feel or and appreciation of Paris during that age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 L | 10/23/2013

    " What an interesting book! What I liked the most was seeing the interplay of various famous Americans (artists, architects, writers etc. who crossed paths in Paris during the mid to late 1800's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 10/23/2013

    " I give it 4 stars, but only because no one can write a story about a time and place like McCullough can. He gets bogged down in French history a third of the way in, but he finishes up strongly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie | 10/8/2013

    " This history was extremely evocative. It put in perspective another way in which America is so very new -- I hadn't realized or thought about it that Americans would never have seen the great masterpieces -- what an amazing thing going to Paris and Europe would have been for artists! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 6/2/2013

    " Very interesting account of Americans who traveled and lived in Paris from late 1820s to 1920s. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neil | 5/26/2013

    " Great companion to Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sigrid | 4/22/2013

    " Slow at first but really picked up during the Siege of Paris. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 3/28/2012

    " Makes me want to read more McCullough. This is great in audiobook form. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin | 2/4/2012

    " Some chapters were very good but overall the book is slower moving then I would have liked. Learned about some very famous Americans but was not interested in all of them. Good for study of lifestyle/living conditions in Paris at the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 7/15/2011

    " Another good read by David mccullough "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joyce | 6/23/2011

    " Edward Herrmann is a great narrator. Fascinating book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 6/18/2011

    " A marvelous history lesson; highly readable! It was a golden era for the arts and humanities in the City of Lights! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allen | 6/16/2011

    " For my review of this book, please see the July/August 2011 edition of The Brooklyn Rail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glenda | 6/16/2011

    " Different. More like a history book. It was dry at times, very detailed. But on the positive side it showed how many American artists, writers, politicians and doctors during the 1830s went to France to foster their knowledge of their craft. "

About the Author

David McCullough, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author, 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 acclaimed books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Greater Journey, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

About the Narrator

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Audie Awards and twenty-two Earphones Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.