This humorous, dramatic, and sometimes shocking novel, set in the pre-war south, is the tale of Roxy, a beautiful and intelligent slave woman who contrives to save her own light-skinned child from being "sold down the river". She successfully switches her baby with the master's own child, starting a chain of events that lead to surprising and tragic results.
This book is considered by many to be Mark Twain's best book dealing with the cruelty, horror, and inhumanity of slavery in 19th century America. Pudd'nhead, the title character, not only provides humorous aphorisms and wry observations on the little river town, he also proves to be the catalyst that solves the mystery, radically changing the lives of all of those involved.
Interestingly, Mark Twain's use of fingerprints as evidence in a fictional criminal trial predated the official acceptance of such evidence in actual U.S. courts by two years.
This recording is a recreation of Mark Twain's own reading, just as his family might have heard the story for the first time in the family library.
(P)2003 Richard Henzel
"Superb...one of the best readings of a Mark Twain book to which I've ever listened, and I've listened to almost all of them. An energetic and remarkably impassioned narration that brings out the powerful emotions and ironies of one of Mark Twain's complex works and adds new dimensions." (R. Kent Rasmussen, author of Mark Twain A to Z and audiobook reviewer for Library Journal)
I just loved this recording. I wish i could find more of Twains works with this narrator. He does an outstanding job. I would recommend this book to anyone; and in this case, with such an excellent reader, i would rather listen to it than read it off a page--he adds so much.
Love the play and insight into the human psyche, Mark Twain's humor and wittiness is well brought out by the narrator whose voice has a southern feel to it that fits what you would imagine a book by Mark Twain to sound like when read aloud. The narrator really makes a difference as to how the audible book comes across.
still tilting at windmills, after all of these years.
Wow, the publisher's summary got it right when they called "Pudd'nhead Wilson" "humorous, dramatic, and sometimes shocking."
Even apart from the commentary on slavery, this is an excellent detective story in its own right. For the interested, in the second paragraph of chapter 25 of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," Twain writes a little more about his thoughts on the institution of slavery.
Well worth the listen, disturbing parts and all. In fact, one of the roles of great literature may be to bother us in some way, forcing us to ask questions, jolting us into thought.
I knew nothing of the storyline before purchasing this book, I just knew that I like Mark Twain and that I could expect to have a good--and thoughtful--time reading it. I wasn't disappointed. Puddn'head Wilson is your basic Prince and the Pauper story centering on race rather than royalty--oh, I guess that should come as no surprise, since Twain wrote the Prince and the Pauper too! I find it amazing that Twain was so progressive in his views in his day, yet in some areas dates himself (as can only be expected) with the views he expresses of "The Slave" in America . . . as a former 8th grade public school teacher, I find myself wondering what offences I might commit if I were to have my students study this novel. Twain is, of course, a master with dialogue and character. A pleasure to spend these several hours listening.
Richard Henzel's masterful narration brings this sometimes overlooked Mark Twain classic to life! Readers who might struggle with the dialect will especially appreciate Henzel's delivery and would do well to follow along with the text.
As a huge Twain fan, this is definately one of his better works. It is full of interesting, well-developed characters, deception, and suspense and Richard Henzel does a superb job of feeding those characteristics!
this book is right up there with huckleberry finn.... one could easily make a case for it being twains' best book...you will love it
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