Norman Dietz’s resonant voice, and his affable delivery, makes him the ideal actor to perform the spirited memoir Roughing It: A Personal Narrative by writer Mark Twain. This entertaining travelogue explores a seven-year journey through the wilderness of the American west. The original plan had been a mere three-month excursion to tour silver mines. Twain traveled with his brother Orion Clemens - the Secretary of Nevada Territory - and derived much humor from their adventures in unfamiliar landscapes and situations.
(P)1987 by Recorded Books, Inc.
For some reason I missed "Roughing It" in my earlier attempts at reading all of Mark Twain. My loss: it's an absolutely hilarious journey, part factual reporting, part tall tale in the best western campfire tradition. (If you're familiar with the omitted "raft chapter" in "Huckleberry Finn," you know what to expect.) One of Twain's greatest strengths is his willingness to include himself among the objects of genial mockery. This is Mark Twain the Humorist at his best.
I didn't find the problems with audio quality that others reported. I agree that Fraley's recording of "Huckleberry Finn" is a superior piece of work, but Norman Dietz does a great job on this one. He's droll, unassuming, loquacious, and endearing, and he adopts one of a variety of other voices at the drop of a hat. My one complaint would be a certain breathiness of delivery -- occasional rapid delivery punctuated by sharp intakes of breath. I think this is partly a matter of recording age and technology: I find that occurring less often on more recent audiobooks. In any case, for an audiobook that gave me this much pleasure, I have to give it five stars.
I don't know why this book is not more known or read. It probably is the definitive book on the sights and sounds of the Old West, certainly moreso than the Westerns I've read. I laughed out loud listening to it, causing a bit of a stir among fellow airplane passengers.
I've read this book numerous times since I was young, and the stories and anecdotes are always fun and entertaining. I've traveled the areas mentioned countless times, wishing I could have experienced it as Twain did.
I only had one complaint about this recording. I'm sure everyone has seen jokes that get passed around the office, Xeroxed and faxed over and over until they're almost unreadable. This recording reminded me of that. The quality is extremely poor. If I had known about the audio quality beforehand, I wouldn't have purchased this recording.
The recording wasn't the best but who cares as long as you can make out the words! This is a unique look at Twain and the way he saw the world. It's one of those timeless narratives that captures the character and the characters of a time and place. I laughed out loud and enjoyed Twain's perspective.
I read this book many years ago and enjoyed it just as much this time. It's full of sharp wit and humor, with lots of wonderful insghts into the history and times of the American West. Great narration.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Mark Twain's Western Observations. THe most enlightening is that the same charecters and situations exist today!!! I had some issues with the quality of the first CD I burned resutling is satice. The others were fine.
If you live in the West or paln a trip out here, it is a great "Read" to understand the fabric and flavor of the area.
I'm a recently retired police officer, judo instructor, grandfather, husband. Lifelong Sci-fi, horror, military fiction fan.
I'm a Mark Twain fan and have read many of his books. This is the first one I ever listened too. This story just seemed to drag on and on. Each little anecdote was fine and sometimes humorous but put together the little stories just did not add up to one good story. Also, the narrators gravely voice just becomes grating over time.
I could not make it to the end.
The gravely narration paced the story just fine. Nothing much ever really happened.
It was an interesting look into the view and opinions of the settlers and travelers of the time. But with Mark Twains usual exaggerations it was often hard to tell an opinion from a fact.
I really tried to make it through this book. I wanted to like it but could not.
The characters are so jumbled around that I didn't know if I was coming or going. I wanted to read a classic, well I guess this one should have stayed in print only.
1800's Fun Adventure
I personally enjoyed the part about his travels in Lake Tahoe.
I really enjoyed this reader.
Mark Twain = Classic
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