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This title in other editions

Mark Twain: A Life

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Mark Twain: A Life Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Mark Twain founded the American voice. His works are a living national treasury: taught, quoted, and reprinted more than those of any writer except Shakespeare. His awestruck contemporaries saw him as the representative figure of his times, and his influence has deeply flavoured the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet somehow, beneath the vast flowing river of literature that he left behind — books, sketches, speeches, not to mention the thousands of letters to his friends and his remarkable entries in private journals — the man who became Mark Twain, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, has receded from view.

It is hard to imagine a life that encompassed more of its times. Sam Clemens left his frontier boyhood in Missouri for a life on the Mississippi during the golden age of steamboats. He skirted the western theater of the Civil War before taking off for an uproariously drunken newspaper career in the Nevada of the Wild West. As his fame as a humorist and lecturer spread, witnessing the extremes of wealth and poverty of New York City and the Gilded Age (which he named). He travelled to Europe on the first American pleasure cruise and revitalized the prim genre of travel writing. He wooed and won his lifelong devoted wife, yet quietly pined for the girl who was his first crush and whom he would re-encounter many decades later. He invented and invested in get-rich-quick schemes. He became the toast of Europe and a celebrity who toured the globe. His comments on everything he saw, many published here for the first time, are priceless.

The man who emerges in Powers' brilliant telling is both the magnetic, acerbic, and hilarious Mark Twain of myth and a devoted friend, husband, and father; a whirlwind of optimism and restless energy; and above all, a wide-eared and wide-eyed observer who absorbed every sight and sound, and poured it into his characters, plots, jokes, businesses, and life. "Mark Twain" offers an unrivalled insight into the life of one of America's greatest writers whose culteral influence was seminal in the creation of modern America.

Review:

"In 1867, after successfully marketing accounts of his Mideast travels to several newspapers, Mark Twain wrote to his mother, 'Am pretty well known now. Intend to be better known.' But he could hardly have anticipated the meteoric rise that would rapidly make him America's most prominent citizen. [Now] Twain will be subjected to that conclusive proof of American significance, the Ken Burns documentary....[H]appily, [this book] stands on its own merits as a fascinating account of Twain's extraordinary career. All Burns productions center on a good story, and this is a plain, very human tale: rags, riches, and the rest....As one might expect, the Burns team has done magnificent archival detective work and unearthed a treasure trove of rare Twain photographs. This should appeal to a vast potential readership eager to learn more about this manic, profound, daft, and provocative mad genius of American culture." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Samuel Clemens, the man known as Mark Twain, invented the American voice and became one of our greatest celebrities. His life mirrored his country's, as he grew from a Mississippi River boyhood in the days of the frontier, to a Wild-West journalist during the Gold Rush, to become the king of the eastern establishment and a global celebrity as America became an international power. Along the way, Mark Twain keenly observed the characters and voices that filled the growing country, and left us our first authentically American literature. Ron Powers's magnificent biography offers the definitive life of the founding father of our culture.

About the Author

Geoffrey C. Ward is the author of twelve books, including A First-Class Temperament, which won the 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 1990 Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians. He has written or co-written many documentary films, including The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz.

Dayton Duncan is the author of five books, including Out West: An American Journey and Lewis & Clark (with Ken Burns). He has been a consultant on many of Ken Burns's films, including Lewis & Clark, and was also the co-writer and consulting producer of the PBS series The West.

Ken Burns, founder of Florentine Films, is a director, producer, and writer who has been making documentaries for more than twenty years. His landmark film The Civil War was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television, and his work has won numerous prizes, including the Emmy and Peabody Awards.

Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue

1: "Something at Once Awful and Sublime" (1835-39)

2: "The White Town, Drowsing..." (1839)

3: Of Words and the Word (1840-42)

4: The Hannibal Decade (1843-53)

5: Apprentice (1848-51)

6: Rambler (1852-53)

7: "So Far from Home..." (1853-56)

8: The Language of Water (1856-58)

9: Ranger (1858-61)

10: Washoe (1861-62)

11: A Journalistic Counterculture (1862-63)

12: "Mark Twain — More of Him" (1863)

13: Code Duello (1863-64)

14: A Villainous Backwoods Sketch (1864-65)

15: "...And I Began to Talk" (1865-66)

16: On the Road (1866-67)

17: Back East (1867)

18: "move — move — Move!" (1867)

19: Pilgrims and Sinners (1867)

20: In the Thrall of Mother Bear (October 1867-New Year's Day 1868)

21: "A Work Humorously Inclined..." (February-July 1868)

22: The Girl in the Miniature (July 1868-October 1868)

23: American Vandal (October-December 1868)

24: "Quite Worthy of the Best" (1869)

25: Fairyland (1870)

26: "My Hated Nom de Plume..." (1871)

27: Sociable Jimmy (1871-72)

28: The Lion of London (1872-73)

29: Gilded (1873-74)

30: Quarry Farm and Nook Farm (1874-75)

31: The Man in the Moon (1875)

32: "It Befell Yt One Did Breake Wind..." (1876)

33: God's Fool (1877)

34: Abroad Again (1878-79)

35: "A Personal Hatred for Humbug" (1880)

36: "A Powerful Good Time" (1881-82)

37: "All Right, Then..." (1882-83)

38: The American Novel (1884-85)

39: Roll Over, Lord Byron (1886-87)

40: "I Have Fed So Full on Sorrows..." (1887-90)

41: "We Are Skimming Along Like Paupers..." (1891-June 1893)

42: Savior (1893-94)

43: Thunder-Stroke (1895-96)

44: Exile and Return (1896-1900)

45: Sitting in Darkness (1900-1905)

Chapter the Last

Notes

Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743249010
Author:
Powers, Ron
Publisher:
Free Press
Author:
Ron Powers
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
American - Southern
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Twain, Mark
Subject:
Authors, American -- 19th century.
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Literary
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
May 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 pp b-w photo insert; index; notes
Pages:
736
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Mark Twain: A Life New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.00 In Stock
Product details 736 pages Free Press - English 9780743249010 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1867, after successfully marketing accounts of his Mideast travels to several newspapers, Mark Twain wrote to his mother, 'Am pretty well known now. Intend to be better known.' But he could hardly have anticipated the meteoric rise that would rapidly make him America's most prominent citizen. [Now] Twain will be subjected to that conclusive proof of American significance, the Ken Burns documentary....[H]appily, [this book] stands on its own merits as a fascinating account of Twain's extraordinary career. All Burns productions center on a good story, and this is a plain, very human tale: rags, riches, and the rest....As one might expect, the Burns team has done magnificent archival detective work and unearthed a treasure trove of rare Twain photographs. This should appeal to a vast potential readership eager to learn more about this manic, profound, daft, and provocative mad genius of American culture." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Samuel Clemens, the man known as Mark Twain, invented the American voice and became one of our greatest celebrities. His life mirrored his country's, as he grew from a Mississippi River boyhood in the days of the frontier, to a Wild-West journalist during the Gold Rush, to become the king of the eastern establishment and a global celebrity as America became an international power. Along the way, Mark Twain keenly observed the characters and voices that filled the growing country, and left us our first authentically American literature. Ron Powers's magnificent biography offers the definitive life of the founding father of our culture.
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