countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout All-New Kindle Home Music Deals Store sports Tools Registry

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$18.78+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

The problem with putting together Twain's ramblings about himself is that in the original, they are scattered all over his life in no particular organization. The editors of this version have put them in roughly chronological order and taken out some of the more repetitious pieces--and it really works well when you sit down with this remarkable book and make your way through the life tale of the greatest of all tall tale men.
What also comes through clearly is the immense sadness and loneliness he felt at the end of his life. He is a man looking back on a lifetime of irreplaceable moments, some tragic, some unjust, many downright hilarious--and some unspeakably poignant, as when Twain mentions his pride to discover that his little daughter Susy, who died before him, had started writing his biography.
If you want to know more about the man who saw a river so wide it only had one bank, this is the place. More than almost any biography I can remember, this one made me smile, made me laugh loudly, and just as often filled my eyes with tears.
"I love to think of the great and godlike Clemens." -- Rudyard Kipling
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 30, 2001
This book would have at least 4 stars if not for the negatives mentioned below. Regardless, the reader is truly exposed to Mark Twain's thoughts about his life as if he was on the porch with you talking about them. Particularly interesting were his recollections of his early childhood, his exposure to slavery and African Americans at that time, his lecture travels later in life, and difficulties with publishers. You also seem to catch fragments of stories that might/should have made it into his published works. (And his comments on all of the unpublished material that he destroyed! To be able to read that material now . . . .) Overall, a very enjoyable book that does well to capture a truly great American author.
There were some negatives -- The numerous times that Twain was apparently financially duped by publishers, relatives, and acquaintances was depressing, and much of the middle part of the book became a lament, in my opinion, because of that. But still, you get the perspective of a great author who was either genuinely financially naive or a lousy custodian of his money; or perhaps he 'stretched the truth' a little.
Also, at least in my copy, the pages were out of order in several places. (It was the equivalent to actually sitting on a porch with the great author, listening, but being occasionally interrupted by clouds of mosquitoes.) The out-of-order pages made it extremely annoying, and if you get a copy like that, send it back!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 17, 2001
The Autobiography of Mark Twain is somewhat biographical but mostly philisophical, with Twain using assorted tales from his past to ruminate on more profound aspects of life. This book, dictated by Twain when he was near the end of his life, covers a wide range of emotions.
Twain explains at the start of the book that he approached his auto-biography as though he were composing it posthumously in order that he might loose himself of normal inhibitions which would otherwise force him to hold back on his opinions of certain people and beliefs. The result of this style is a very witty and frank retelling and analysis of many private and not-so-private moments from Twain's amazing life.
This book obviously took Twain on an emotional journey of many highs and lows. These range from the hilarious scene in which he tries to reassure his wife that they are safe, even as a burglar rummages around in the lower portion of their house one night, to the extremely sad, but boldly colorful accounts of the deaths of several people very close to Twain.
In the end, though I enjoyed the book, I have to say I felt sad for Mark Twain. While I love his writing and think he is unfairly persecuted and misunderstood in today's politically correct world, Twain was not a very happy man at the end of his life, despite being at the pinnacle of his artistic field. His candor about his lack of faith in man or God is very honest but ultimately disappointing as it offered him, admittedly, no personal hope in anything greater than his difficult end to a very full life. I definitely recommend this book though for a look at an American icon that only could have been relayed by Twain himself.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 23, 2002
Treat yourself to the autobiography of a great man whose rich life held everything - humor, joy, sadness, passion and heartbreak. I love his highly evolved sense of social justice and his clear perception of the hypocrisies of his time (and indeed ours). The most touching aspect of this book is the way he opens up and gives us access to the most intimate and tender parts of himself. This is one of the best autobiograpies I've ever read and I've read it countless times. This book will touch your heart and make you laugh out loud.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 8, 2004
I recommend reading this autobiography, although I do think it is too long and certain sections could have been eliminated.
There are some extremely funny episodes, but for me the most powerful writing was the last chapter about the death of his daughter Jean. It is an extremely moving glimpse into Twain's heartfelt pain. Reading this life story has made me want to revisit the high school classics of Huck Finn and Mark Twain.
4 stars.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 15, 2001
For all people who like twain this is a must!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse