2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A book that should not have been published,
This review is from: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Hardcover)
As many other reviewers have noted on Amazon.com, this book is disjointed in style and written without any underlying theme or analysis. For much of its length it reads very much like a poorly crafted catalogue or cookbook. Could this be the great David McCullough who has written this? The author seems to have no real mastery of his subject matter, and the words commercial and superficial rang in my ears as I read it.
And yet with a more knowledgeable writer the story could have been a fascinating read. The interplay of French and Americans, surely should have offered a revealing contrast between the character and culture of each group. Instead, in "The Greater Journey," the French and Paris are simply used as a backdrop for the heroic actions of Americans artists, who work hard to satisfy their insatiable ambitions, while finding themselves to be true blue, back home patriots. The book could almost have been set in Indianapolis.
As for accuracy, on page 219 McCullough claims that a Cunard line ship, the Pacific, sank in 1856 with all passengers and crew lost. However, as it is widely known, Cunard never lost a passenger's life in its long and famous history. In fact the Pacific belonged to the ill fated American Collins Line. It is this type of very basic mistake which makes one wonder about McCullough and his work on this book.
Too bad about this! It was my first David McCullough book and I was expecting something great.