This is my first book by well-known author David McCullough, and apparently it is not his best work. However, the many stories of Americans who traveled to Paris France in the 1800’s and 1900’s offers what amount to cameo biographies of people of importance.
For instance, I didn’t realize that Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, was a well recognized painter of some repute. Author James Fenimore Cooper was a close friend of Morse and spent nearly every day with Morse as he painted in the Louvre. Elihu Washburne was a politician who was made the US Ambassador to France. Washburne’s journal of the Franco-Prussian War with its blockade of Paris details the trials of the Parisians and Washburne’s heroic efforts to help the beleaguered civilians caught in the crossfire. The book includes highlights of numerous artists such as Mary Cassatt, Sargent and Saint-Gaudens, and authors such as Mark Twain and others.
I found this is an interesting book for the previously unknown information about people who I knew by name only. However there is little to tie these personalities together beyond the fact they all went to Paris from America.