From Our Editors
INDIGO RECOMMENDS: A new book by David McCullough is cause for
celebration. He is the recipient of Pulitzer Prizes for both Truman
and John Adams. In this newly published masterwork, he tells the
eventful story of American migrations to Paris beginning in the
1830s, including such characters as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark
Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Samuel Morse, Mary Cassatt, John
Singer Sargent, as well as doctors, writers, artists and architects
who made extended and repeated trips to the City of Light at a time
when historic advancements were being made in the arts and
The Greater Journey is magnificent in every respect. David
McCullough is a glorious writer who is able to dramatize whole
periods of history with narrative power while painting intimate
pictures of the participants with empathy and humanity. Beautifully
and generously illustrated with historic photographs, maps and
paintings this book will provide inspiration and joy to generations
From the Publisher
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.
After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these
Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. 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." Elizabeth
Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this
intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the
Sorbonne because of a burning desire to know more about everything.
There 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, almost at the cost of his
Two staunch friends, 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
Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk from New Orleans launched his
spectacular career performing in Paris at age 15. George P. A.
Healy, who had almost no money and little education, took the
gamble of a lifetime and with no prospects whatsoever in Paris
became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the day. His
subjects included Abraham Lincoln.
Medical student Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote home of his toil and
the exhilaration in "being at the center of things" in what was
then the medical capital of the world. From all they learned in
Paris, Holmes and his fellow "medicals" were to exert lasting
influence on the profession of medicine in the United States.
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. Almost
forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne
bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the
long Siege of Paris and even more atrocious nightmare of the
Commune. His vivid account in his diary of the starvation and
suffering endured by the people of Paris (drawn on here for the
first time) is one readers will never forget. The genius of
sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the son of an immigrant shoemaker,
and of painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, three of the
greatest American artists ever, would flourish in Paris, inspired
by the examples of brilliant French masters, and by Paris
Nearly all of these Americans, whatever their troubles learning
French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the
raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and
nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping,
fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the
lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens's phrase,
longed "to soar into the blue." The Greater Journey is
itself a masterpiece.
About the Author
David McCullough was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 7, 1933. He received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Yale University in 1955. After graduation, he moved to New York City and worked as a trainee at Sports Illustrated. He later worked as a writer and editor for the United States Information Agency, in Washington, D.C., including a position at American Heritage. While working at American Heritage, he wrote The Johnstown Flood which was published in 1968. He has written numerous books since then including 1776, Brave Companions, and The Great Bridge. He twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal and Mornings on Horseback. He has also won two Francis Parkman Prizes, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and New York Public Library's Literary Lion Award. Two of his books, Truman and John Adams, have been adapted into a television movie and mini-series, respectively, by HBO. In December 2006, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award that a United States citizen can receive.
About the Book
McCullough tells the story of the American artists and scientists who studied in Paris, and changed America through what they learned there.