Here in Louisiana, we get daily reminders of how deeply France has shaped our culture.

Our state is named after a French king, and our state laws are grounded in the Napoleonic code. Look in any phone book in this area, and you?ll see lots of French names. France, in this part of the world, is very much with us.

But for much of the rest of America, the deep connection between the United States and France is easier to overlook. That?s why we?re glad David McCullough has a new book out which chronicles how the bond between Americans and the people of Paris was strengthened between 1830 and 1900.

In ?The Greater Journey,? McCullough identifies that period in the 19th century as a time when many of America?s most creative people traveled to Paris and gained critical inspiration for their work.

Among them was Moreau Gottschalk, a New Orleans boy who took Paris by storm in 1845, when he performed before an audience that included the great composer Fr?d?ric Chopin. Chopin, according to one account, was deeply impressed, anointing Gottschalk as the next ?king of pianists.?

McCullough is known to many readers for his biographies of Harry Truman and John Adams. We?re glad McCullough has returned, just in time for summer reading season, with a story that should be received with particular warmth in Louisiana.