In 1861, young Mark Twain found himself adrift as a tenderfoot in the Wild West. Roughing It is a hilarious record of his travels over a six-year period that comes to life with his inimitable mixture of reporting, social satire, and rollicking tall tales. Twain reflects on his scuffling years mining silver in Nevada, working at a Virginia City newspaper, being downandout in San Francisco, reporting for a newspaper from Hawaii, and more.
This humorous account is a patchwork of personal anecdotes and tall tales, many of them told in the “vigorous new vernacular” of the West.
Selling 75,000 copies within a year of its publication in 1872, Roughing It was greeted as a work of “wild, preposterous invention and sublime exaggeration” whose satiric humor made “pretension and false dignity ridiculous.” Meticulously restored from a variety of original sources, this text adheres to the author’s wishes in thousands of details of wording, spelling, and punctuation.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Describes, in dramatic incidents, the people he met, from desperadoes to Brigham Young.” (The Reader’s Encyclopedia)
With this volume, Grover Gardner has done all of Twain's best travel writing: Innocents Abroad, A Tramp Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, and now this. Of the four, Roughing It is one of the funniest. It's Twain's account of the six or so years he spent out West, first as an undersecretary to the secretary of the Nevada territory, who happened to be his brother Orion; then as a silver miner and entrepreneur; then a newspaperman, concluding with an extended account of his first travel assignment: a tour of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) for a San Francisco newspaper. Without making the slightest effort to impersonate Twain, Gardner captures the spirit of the work flawlessly.
Twain's travel writing is like no one else's on earth. Without batting an eye, he can shift from the most accurate and evocative nature writing to the most outrageous tall tale - and back again. He can be brutally iconoclastic and awestruck by beauty in the same paragraph. (His glowing account of a night-time visit to Lake Tahoe is coupled with the story of how he and his partner managed to burn down several acres of timber on the shore of the lake by accident, destroying their investment in a budding timber concern.)
I'm still shuddering at his tale of venturing into the crater of an active volcano in Hawaii, picking a careful path through partially-hardened lava fields by torchlight.
If you've read Twain's novels and want more, give his travel writing a try. I waited way too many years to do so myself. Roughing It is one of the last I read, and is one of the best.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Twain???s travel writing isn???t your standard travel writing. Roughing It is tongue in cheek, sarcastic, fantastic, humorous, wild, and ridiculous. This relates the experiences of Mark Twain???s journey through the west and Hawaii. The narration is excellent, with an excellent understanding of the humor. I really enjoyed the history and texture of the American west. At a few points the humor is a bit dated, but overall this is a fun listen.
Listening to the first half of this excellent audiobook, I was reminded again and again why Mark Twain is one of the best American writers ever. He can do more with a single paragraph than JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, and all the other pop-fad-of-the-day writers can do with 7 or 8 novels combined.
The only problem with this particular Twain book is it's just too danged long! The length is what prevented me from giving it 5 stars. It's just too long.
I love to read
There's nothing better than a night curled-up by the fire, with Mark Twain and his eccentric, peculiar, indispensable point of view. Here he tackles desperados, stagecoaches, mountains dappled with snow, the city of Salt Lake, and so on and so forth. It hardly matters what he says, he says it so damn well.
Thoroughly enjoyed this class Mark Twain story of his adventures in The West in the mid 1800s. Narrator did an excellent job reading the book and delivering in a fashion to keep my interest. I even enjoyed the various voices he used. I would highly recommend this entertaining Audible book.
This was my first and what a great introduction!
Absolutely everything. The voice was fantastic! The chapters about the Mormons and his trip to the tropics I couldn't stop laughing
None. But it was simply great
The time Twain became a public lecturer
If you ever low on your sales of audible books start by offering roughing it for free. Now I can't stop listening to books.
I can't imagine a more delightful way to learn about the American West of the 1860's. Twain lived it; he wrote about it with easy wit and great insight. On his trip he passed through Mormon Salt Lake City while polygamy was still practiced; he was in Nevada when fabulous amounts of silver and gold were being dug out of the mountains; and went through the coldest winter of his life--the summer in San Francisco.
Not really. Mark Twain's wit loses its value when not backed up by real substance.
It lacks the depth of Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer and doesn't have the continuity of Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court
none in particular
Obviously, Mark Twain's book is a good one. The reader's voice was too grating to listen to. Three of us tried to listen to it during a trip and we all gave up.
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