Since the last episode of this show, I can report two positive things: First, I did indeed spend less time doom scrolling and therefore alleviate much of the anxiety and stress I had been feeling for months. And second, I finished a number of excellent books, many of which you can find on my Bookshop.org page which I’ve listed in the show notes, and also returned to review a few other books I’ve enjoyed in the past few years, including the excellent work by today’s guest. Jess McHugh is an American journalist in Paris and the author of Americanon: An Unexpected U.S. History in Thirteen Bestselling Books. With smart storytelling anchored in unbelievably detailed reporting, the book explores the history of thirteen bestselling books and also how these ubiquitous titles have informed, influenced, and updated American ideals at crucial moments in history.
I brought her on the show today to talk about the book but also how that history might have been influenced by the French, how American figures left their mark on France, and some of her favourite books on the France-U.S. experience.
Mentioned in this episode: