The Mississippi River, known as “America’s River” and Mark Twain are practically synonymous in American culture. The popularity of Twain’s steamboat and steamboat pilot on the ever-changing Mississippi has endured for over a century.
A brilliant amalgam of remembrance and reportage, by turns satiric, celebratory, nostalgic, and melancholy, Life on the Mississippi evokes the great river that Mark Twain knew as a boy and young man and the one he revisited as a mature and successful author. Written between the publication of his two greatest novels, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Twain’s rich portrait of the Mississippi marks a distinctive transition in the life of the river and the nation, from the boom years preceding the Civil War to the sober times that followed it.
Samuel Clemens became a licensed river pilot at the age of twenty-four under the apprenticeship of Horace Bixby, pilot of the Paul Jones. His name, Mark Twain, was derived from the river pilot term describing safe navigating conditions, or “mark two fathoms.” This term was shortened to “mark twain” by the leadsmen whose job it was to monitor the water’s depth and report it to the pilot.
Although Mark Twain used his childhood experiences growing up along the Mississippi in numerous works, nowhere is the river and the pilot’s life more thoroughly described than in Life on the Mississippi.
MARK TWAIN (1835–1910) was born Samuel L. Clemens in the town of Florida, Missouri. One of the most popular and influential authors our nation has ever produced, his keen wit and incisive satire earned him praise from both critics and peers. He has been called not only the greatest humorist of his age but the father of American literature.
Public Domain (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Mark Twain was the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs.” (William Faulkner)
“I believe that Mark Twain had a clearer vision of life…than any other American…I believe that he was the true father of our national literature, the first genuinely American artist of the royal blood.” (H. L. Mencken)
Sci-fi/Fantasy fan with a library-worth of reading behind him
Anyone considering this Daily Deal--there are two Kindle editions available, one for a dollar and one for free. Buy the free one, add the Whispersync narration for a dollar, and you get this $5 Daily Deal for $1 =)
(I'll get rid of this review tomorrow until after I have a chance to listen to the book)
Fantastic read, the best narrator yet!! Rates as high as Huck Finn narrated by Elijah Wood and Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume one.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Of the first fifteen chapters of the book, twelve are reprinted from “The Atlantic.” In the three introductory ones which precede these, the physical character of the river is sketched. The book was published in 1883. The book begins with a brief history of the river beginning with the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto then on the French Marquette and La Salle.
The most engrossing section describes the author’s education as a steamboat pilot. Vivid details and anecdotes link the story of life on the River. He tells of the odd habits of the steamboat pilots. There is a section on how to read the river including the conformation of the banks, sandbanks, islands and inlets as well as sudden cut outs of the river after storms.
The rest of the book is an account of Twain’s trip down the Mississippi decades later as an old man. He describes the changes in the river and of American during his lifetime. The book is hilarious, fascinating, meandering tour of the Mississippi River most of all the book is entertain. Grover Gardner does an excellent job narrating the book.
What comments could I add to the greatest American author that lived. Grover Gardner does a great job as usual. This gave me a real sense of the Mississippi in the eighteen hundreds. I loved the part about Huck Finn and those excerpts.
Try something different and dig into some of the lesser known Twain classics
The Elija Wood version of Huck Fine is a treat and some Twian that should not be missed.
I was very interested to read my first Mark Twain book and I have always enjoyed his observations on life and travel.
I always love the way Twain turns a phrase. And this is great for short stories or snippets. I was surprised at how tedious this can make a novel. When everything is grandiose and larger than life...well..it all starts to sound plain and boring. The actual information and nuggets of truth get lost in the decoration. About half way through I started only listening to 15-20 minute segments before changing to something else and coming back to the book later. He is still witty. I would love to share a corner of a party with him, but maybe not hang out with him every day.
As a history book I was fascinated at the look Twain provided. Both with the development of the river and the communities and cultures along it. Such a valuable look into how people lived and thought at that time. Amazing that while many things have changed many struggles remain universal. Providing for your family, complaints about the dangers of new technology, evils of corporations, etc.
The narrator was a good selection for the voice of Twain in my head. Enough of a drawl to know it is there but not too over the top. Any difficulties with the reading I feel were ultimately with the text and not his performance.
I find it impossible not to love Mark Twains writing style. Very seldom do I openly laugh during a story, but did several times with this one. I have never "wasted" a credit with MT. Now on to 'The Guilded Age".
*the narrator was great on this one too. Check it out.
Life on the Mississippi is part memoir, part history book, part excerpts from other works, and part twaddle. (Bonus points because I've never had the occasion to use that word in a review before.) It was a little too much twaddle. I'm guessing that the readers of the 1800s purchased the book based on his other well-written works, and just waded through the useless chapters.
I added another star to my rating because Grover Gardner did a wonderful job of narrating this work. Sadly even his humor-infused tones were not enough to get me through some chapters. I was ever so glad that I could also read the ebook.
This book is about the Mississippi, but it's also very much about Mark Twain ... with a few engaging anecdotes thrown in. His writing keeps your attention from the first paragraph to the last.
I tried to give this "Classic" a chance. I really did. When I made the selection, it was because I had a feeling I should. C'mon! It's a classic! Mark Twain! Samuel Clemmons and the allure of the Mississippi. The Mighty Mississip! Steam Boats and life on a River Boat!
Well, after about 1/3 of the way into the book I became bored and at about the half-way point I just couldn't take it any more. I kept asking myself how this book was a classic and what made Mark Twain such an important literary figure. Maybe the Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County or Huck Finn can straighten me out because this one sure didn't I was bored to tears.
Grover Gardner of course does a superb job of (trying to) keep the listener entertained, His voice inflection and pronouncement of each character once again is second to none. He is simply pleasant to listen to which is probably why I hung on so long. He truly gives this book the little life it has.
I'm not not recommending this one, I'm simply saying I couldn't get thru it. Maybe you'l have a better go at it. And if you do, try and parlay that attention with Herman Melville's Moby Dick!
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