I love David McCullough. You can feel his passion for history when reading his works. This book looks at the American presence in Paris during the 19th century. It focuses on the artists, writers, and a cast characters from inventors, to musicians, to politicians. As background, the history of Paris throughout the 19th century is discussed, but the focus always returned to the Americans living there. I think the reason this book is not rated higher by most people (myself included) is that it looks at too many people over too great a time span. It is difficult to follow at times as many of the people discussed are not well known. Another issue is that for someone not used to reading about art history, is it not easy to follow the discussions on art technique and why some art was more appreciated than others. I feel like I learned a lot and would recommend it to people who either love McCullough or this type of history.