Like some of the other readers, I was impatient with the beginning of the audiobook: the Introduction accounts for nearly sixty pages of the print version. But after listening to this volume, which is only the first (!), I have come to think that the scholarly introduction enhanced my eventual appreciation of the work.
It is important for the reader to understand how different MT's is from other autobiographies, and the Introduction helps to make that clear. When I heard (read) that MT stubbornly insisted that his dictations were to be arranged just as he dictated them, rather than being reorganized into a chronological, more narrative order, I didn't think this could work. But the result is that I feel like I'm witnessing the operation of MT's own mind, and picking up the connections between what had happened previously in his life and the events of the days in which he was dictating.
In particular, I thought that his reconstruction of Susy's biography of him, with interspersed corrections and reminiscences, made that work (which I've read and taught as a separate publication called "Papa") come alive in a way which reading it by itself does not.
The reminiscences also make clear something that I had never noticed before, which is the extent to which he was a virtual New Yorker, at least later in life.
What comes through very clearly is MT's personality. I get the impression that it would have been a great thing to be his friend, but I would not have enjoyed being on his bad side! His scorn for people he saw as misguided, venal, or unreliable was withering.
To those who think the thing is just too damn long, I guess I would suggest that that is what you read an unabridged version for. An abridged version (leaving out the editor's introduction and some of MT's earlier autobiographical attempts) would probably be more readable, but I felt that this version rewarded my patience.
Yes, it's a doorstop, but I'm looking forward to Volumes 2 and 3!
From the multiple starts and stops at attempting an autobiography, Samuel Clemmens finds organization by using his daughter's biography, of him, as well as other methods as a rough outline to tell his tale. He is a good storyteller and Grover Gardner did a superb job. I did skip most of the first three chapters though as it was notes about how the autobiography was put together from so much separate material.
I have been a fan of Twain's books and love his wit and comments on life. This book was such a pleasure to "listen" to. I don't think I could have read it though. I like how it is not written from the time of his birth to when he finished writing, but how one story leads to another which leads to another. I really enjoyed this book and highly recomend it. I look forward to the next two volumes.
The book starts with a long preface on the Mark Twain project that I found very academic. The actual biography shows little of the wit and wisdom of Twain's books.
I am delightfully surprised at the humor and writing that is as fresh and readable (listenable) today as it was 100 years ago. Often a book that old is difficult to read and the phrasing is very different than books today. But the Autobiography of Mark Twain is so funny in many parts that you will laugh out loud (it is a rare book that can make you do that). It is not all humor. Many of the stories are tragic or dramatic. But they all have that flair and lightness that make them a true part of Mark Twain. The jumping around of topics is not disjointed but really makes the book enjoyable as you are not forced through the long narratives necessary to tie together good stories in a chronological autobiogrpahy. This is all of the good stuff without all of the filler. I can't wait for the next 2 volumes.
Grover Gardner does an excellent job of narration, but that can't overcome a book that is not only very disjointed, but delves way to deeply into topics that should be covered in a few minutes. The book should be retitled "The Ramblings of an Unorganized Mind." Doesn't come close to living up to the hype it received.
Really enjoyed the stories and the reader does a great job, feels like you're actually listening to Mark Twain. There a couple of drawbacks such as the verbiage describing the project that is responsible for the book and the frequent retelling of the difficulties he had with coming up with the format of the autobiography.
I'm a recovering librarian. Since I had a stroke in 2002 I have found reading print difficult. I am so grateful for audiobooks.
The editors??? long and tedious explanation of the autobiographical material takes up most of the first part of this three-part audiobook. I believe that Mark Twain would have had a good laugh at the pomposity of the editors and their footnotes; unfortunately I found it insufferably boring and a very poor use of audio. If I had been reading a print version I would have skimmed or skipped this beginning all together.
I wanted to read Twain???s writing not what all those other folks think I should get out of reading it. A very brief "We got this stuff from lots of different places and times and some of it's literal and some of it isn't. Enjoy," would have been fine with me. Twain does an excellent job of explaining himself.
I enjoyed this book immensely and at times I felt as though I was actually listening to Mark Twain himself. Although this audio book is long, it is well worth taking the time to listen and learn about one of the greatest authors, his demeanor, disposition, strengths and weakness, and finally what made him so great.
Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
Mark Twain's autobiography, right? You'd think Mark Twain wrote it, right? Well, apparently he never wrote an autobiography! This guy,Grover Gardner, with some other Twain fans, put together a collection of bits written by the author on the premise that everything he wrote was autobiographical. They say he "wrote" his autobiography, but did not tell it in a chronological fashion, you just have to guess how old he was and where he was at the time he wrote/lived this stuff. Give me a break. Mark Twain is old news. He was bigoted, conceited and not very nice. In this day and age, I don't think any of his stuff is literature. He made me angry when he wrote about the Hawaiian people in "Mark Twain in Hawaii", and I only bought this book to see if he had more bad things to say about the native people and their royalty. This complete and authoritative edition is just as full of BS as Mark Twain was.