I came to think that individuals should be judged on their merits and not used to build up a portrait of a whole nationality. I’d read somewhere that tracing national character was a puerile pursuit, not one to be encouraged, but one that Americans are especially prone to. Only about 30 percent of Americans have passports, and half of those have traveled only to Mexico or Canada. We are are insular, incurious nation—but there I go again.
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris