Tag Archives: David McCullough

American in Paris 1900-1930s

This sounds exciting! Apparently its an era of American Francophilia that hasn’t been written about before.  Historian and author David McCullough (The “master of narrative history” announced  the subject of of his next book:  Americans in Paris from the early 1900’s to 1930, focusing particularly on how the new technology of aviation influenced the lives of Americans and Parisiennes.

McCullough broke the news when speaking at the annual meeting of the Federation of Alliances Francaises in Providence, where he was accepting the Prix Charbonnier for his most recent work on Americans in Paris, The Greater Journey,

When taping for 60 minutes in Paris,  he said that he knew his next book also had to be about  Americans in Paris in the 20th century.  I copied this next quote from Polly-Vous Francais? where I first learned about his new book.

“But,” he said, “I was faced with the problem of ‘How can I make it different from so much that has been written?  I cannot go down the same old path about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein, etc. etc.’   I knew it could be done and I knew that there were so many more people than those clichés that they had become, alas.  But what would make it work?  And inform?  What was the perspective or lens through which I could look at this period that would be different?  And then, one day, came one of those moments where suddenly it hit me.  And, honestly, it just lifted me out of my chair.  And that is: aviation.  The advent of flight.  The advent of the airplane.  The most emblematic development of the 20th century.”

I think this will be a neat little insight into American-French history. It’ll be a breath of fresh air from what is quickly becoming staid memoirs about how France is so much better than the US in regards to everything, except maybe indoor plumbing and kitchen space. I don’t think I can handle reading anymore of those.