The groundbreaking writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was intensely American, though she lived most of her life in France. She returned only once to the United States, having left it at the age of twenty-nine, yet she never lost her plain American accent and manner nor her ardor for the United States. Stein approached her country with an appreciation akin to discovery. She wrote about it all-railroad stations, mailboxes, cities, farms, five-and-dime stores, drugstores, the food, the landscape, the speech, the ideas.
She wrote, too, about Americans she met in France, the writers and artists who flocked there in the twenties and early thirties, the doughboys of World War I, the GIs of World War II, and Americans she met when she came home briefly in 1934-35.