David McCullough, one of America’s most honored and beloved historians, tells the enthralling, stirring — and until now, largely untold — story of three generations of talented young Americans who traveled to Paris in the nineteenth century seeking excellence, the ways they were changed and the ways they changed their country, in “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris.” He will the book and his others as well Saturday, Sept. 10 beginning 10 a.m. at Left Bank Books, 21 East Main St./Route 1.

McCullough, who has twice won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, chronicles the experiences, the struggles and achievements of artists, writers, architects, doctors, educators, politicians, and inventors against the panoramic backdrop of one of the world’s most enchanting cities at the height of its splendor and influence and through some of the most dramatic episodes of its history.

Many of his central figures are well known, such as James Fenimore Cooper, Samuel F. B. Morse, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Charles Sumner, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Others are nearly forgotten today, such as Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the United States; Elihu Washburne, the American ambassador who indelibly documented the horrors of the Siege of Paris and the Commune revolt; and William Wells Brown, a fugitive American slave who became the first black American novelist and playwright.

Their fields, their temperaments, and their interests were remarkably diverse, yet they all shared one thing aside from their nationality: “They were ambitious to excel in work that mattered greatly to them, and they saw time in Paris, the experience of Paris, as essential to achieving that dream — though, to be sure, as James Fenimore Cooper observed when giving his reasons for needing time in Paris, there was always the possibility of ‘a little pleasure concealed in the bottom of the cup,’” writes McCullough.

In this sweeping, inspiring, and immensely pleasurable book, McCullough captures a time when idealistic and ambitious young Americans flocked to one of the great centers of civilization in search of knowledge, fame, and fortune — and changed American history in the process.

McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for “Truman” and “John Adams,” and twice received the National Book Award, for “The Path Between the Seas” and “Mornings on Horseback.” His other widely acclaimed books are “1776,” “Brave Companions,” “The Great Bridge” and “The Johnstown Flood.” He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the Francis Parkman Prize (twice), the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the National Humanities Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.  He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has received more than 40 honorary degrees.

The book store will take phone requests to reserve books for people who cannot make the signing. The shop is open daily, and the phone number is 548-6400.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.