Originally published over 100 years ago, Roughing It is Mark Twain's second major work, after the success of his 1869 travel book, Innocents Abroad.
This humorous travel book, based on Twain's stagecoach journey through the American West and his adventures in the Pacific islands, is full of colorful caricatures of outlandish locals and detailed sketches of frontier life. Roughing It describes how the narrator, a polite greenhorn from the East, is initiated into the rough-and-tumble society of the frontier. He works his way through Nevada, California, and the Pacific islands as a prospector, journalist, and lecturer, and along the way he meets a number of colorful characters.
Wonderfully entertaining, Twain successfully finds humor in spite of his mishaps while also giving the listener insight into that time and place in American history.
Public Domain (P)2010 Tantor
Huckleberry Finn may be considered a classic, and it is until Tom Sawyer makes his appearance and ruins the rest of the story. Roughing It is a wonderfully entertaining travelogue that's full of the tales (tall and otherwise), brilliant descriptions, and self-deprecating humor that make Twain so great to read. Narrator Peter Berkrot does a fine job and paces the delivery really well.
I find great joy in Mark Twain's storytelling: his remarkable use of the language, his irreverent humor, the timelessness of his observations of human nature and society, his interweaving of truth and fiction, and, in the case of Roughing It, his descriptions of the places that he visits on his trip west. I will certainly reread Roughing It just to hear again his perspective on the life and times of the west in the late 1800's. I would love to hear what he would have to say about our politicians if he were alive today.
The part that made me laugh the hardest was on the boat to Oahu. Twain's description of the captain of the boat (I think he calls him an admiral) who does not read anything, but instead makes up his own version of history, spewing it like a volcano so that his opponents give up the argument. Finally on the trip, a mild-mannered passenger amazes all by coming up with an ingenius way to win an argument with the Admiral. It's brilliant.
As mentioned above, I think that my favorite pair of characters were the Admiral and Williams, the mild-mannered passenger who defeats the sailor.
I laugh frequently and stand in awe of Twain's use of the English language.
My appreciation of Peter Berkrot grew during the course of the book. He did an excellent job of bringing all of the various characters to life.
I read this many years ago and loved it. I have heard it on tape and now thru Audible. It is narrated so well that you can see Twain re-telling his story. I have listened to it once a year for many years, on long road trips with my adult children and laughed from begining to end. We discuse the prose and style of Twains writting and always come up withe new appreciation for this, in my opinion, Americas best author.
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