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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The best work by Twain I've read to date. This combination history, memoir, travelogue, and collection of sketches is both humorous and entertaining. I have also learned a great deal about Twain, his time, and the history of steamboating and the Mississippi. Written later in his life, this work is mature in style as well as content in spite of its loose organization and...
Published on June 2 2002 by Curtis Lane

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Satire but not on same level with Letters From Earth
Twain has a way of taking something that we commonly idealize and shooting holes all through it. Where Letters From Earth took aim at religious belief, this time its Camelot. This is a good satire although not as strong as Letters which is a five star multiple reading kind of book.
In Connecicut Yankee, the author runs across Hank Morgan on a tour of Warwick Castle...
Published on Sept. 1 2003 by Jennifer B. Barton


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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, June 2 2002
By 
Curtis Lane (Orlando, FL United States) - See all my reviews
The best work by Twain I've read to date. This combination history, memoir, travelogue, and collection of sketches is both humorous and entertaining. I have also learned a great deal about Twain, his time, and the history of steamboating and the Mississippi. Written later in his life, this work is mature in style as well as content in spite of its loose organization and focus. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain's Tribute to the Mississippi River, Sept. 24 2001
By 
T. W. Fuller (Wheeling, IL. USA) - See all my reviews
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"Life On the Mississippi" is Mark Twain's tribute to the Mississippi River, which surrounded the earlier part of his life. Mark Twain had been in awe of the river for many years; and inspired him to become a river boat pilot - explained in length in this book; much of which is quite humorous, while other parts are heartbreaking, including that of the horrible death of his brother, Henry.
One of the main complaints about this book that some people have is that is uses too many facts and figures, which tends to bog the reader down. This is true. Yet, the avid reader, and Mark Twain enthusiast, will not bypass these chapters. We will revel in them, and read them with inspired intent; simply because the Mississippi River has been such an integral part of Mark Twain's life, that the more we get to know about the river, the more we get to know about the real Mark Twain.
"Life on the Mississippi" is a work of nonfiction; perhaps Twain's truest account of historical fact concerning his life. For those who are just getting interested in knowing about Mark Twain's writings, I would recommend reading "Roughing It"; as it is humurous throughout. "Life on the Mississippi" would be the second book I would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not "cute"; but absolutely fascinating!, July 13 2004
This book is not a "good" book, in that it fails to achieve its supposed purpose (which is to deprecate chivalric romance). Yet the sheer fascination of this incredibly poigniant failure is enough to keep me returning! It nothing like the "cute" kids versions and movies that it has inspired. Prepare for a vitriolic horror-ride that seems to prove nothing but man's futility--i.e., welcome to Twaine's latter period. Mark Twain's work of psuedo-realistic phantasy is perhaps the most marked and fascinating failure in literature. In the novel Twain sets science and technology against chivalry and romance. Twaine attempts to overthrow a thousand years of fuedal and romantic tradition by means of scientific and economic efficiency. Yet (without revealing too much) in the end the Yankee must praise the romantic hero King Arthur; has used the very superstitions he disdains to dupe the people; come to love an archetype of the simple medieval personality he despises; and, amazingly, has threatened to destroy an entire civilization. In the end the only thing the Yankee proves is that modern man is far too arrogant for his own good, and that it is all too easy to become the villain you hate. So what was Twaine's point? Supposedly to prove the vast superiority of the modern age over the Chivalric Age. But did Twaine actually believe his utterly amazing ending carried out his task? I doubt it; I think the book is a classic example of Twain's disbelief of everything. But the world my never know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Twain�s Greatest!, April 14 2003
By 
M. Allen Greenbaum (California) - See all my reviews
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This book--at times disjointed, rambling, self-referential, and irreverent--is decades ahead of its time. It's an interdisciplinarian's dream as Twain takes on economics, geography, politics, ancient and contemporary history, and folklore with equal ease. Mostly though, one appreciates his knack for exaggeration, the tall tale, and the outright lie. It's a triumph of tone, as he lets you in on his wild wit, his keen observation, and his penchant for bending the truth without losing his credibility as a guide.
The book's structure is also modern: He recounts his days as a paddlewheel steam boat "cub," piloting the hundreds of miles of the Mississippi before the Civil War, then, in Part 2, returns to retrace his paddleboat route. Although a few of his many digressions don't work (they sometimes sound formulaic or too detailed) most of the narrative is extremely entertaining. Twain seems caught between admiration and disdain for the "modern" age-but he also rejects over-sentimentality over the past. He writes with beauty and cynicism, verve and humor. Very highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars review for connecticut yankee, Feb. 24 2004
By 
Nick Robillard (New Hampton, NH United States) - See all my reviews
In the novel, A Connecticut in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain shows the differences between modern society, and sixth century Great Britain. Hank is a self-assured factory worker who knows how to make just about anything. The protagonist, is mysteriously transported back to the sixth century, when struck in the head by a crowbar.
He uses his vast knowledge of explosives and metals to quickly become a leader in the monarchy. His democratic thoughts and ideas become his ambition as he strives to make Great Britain a republic. Twain's novel shows how much of a change society has gone through from the sixth century to the time of the writing of the novel. He also show's how little education anyone received in the sixth century, even the members of royalty are not very wise. Hank's mediocre education is far superior to anybody's in the whole monarchy, because of the advances in education to the present.
Twain shows that the laws of the sixth century were made for the few against the many. At one point a woman is put to death for stealing just enough food to feed her baby. Hank tries, throughout the book, to get the royalty to realize how unfair their laws are to the common man.
This book makes you feel angry at points about the horribleness of the monarchy, yet ashamed because similar acts still go on in the present. An example would be how the rich and privileged still get the best of everything, while the have-nots get the last and worst of everything, both now and then. Twain has a comic sense in the book, and yet he still shows a contrast between the comic and the serious. This book should be a classic for Twain's creative portrayal of the sixth century, yet also because it makes us think about our society today.
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4.0 out of 5 stars amusing book by Mark Twain, Feb. 16 2004
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur¡s Court¡ is a hilarious story written by Mark Twain. The story starts out talking about a young man named Hank Morgan, who was somehow transported back to the 6th century in England. He started out thinking that he arrived in an asylum, where everybody thought they were in the time of King Arthur. He later proved himself that he was in the 6th century by witnessing a total solar eclipse which he knew it was going to occur on the twenty-first of June A.D. 528 at 3 minutes after noon. After that event, he was given place in the government, and continuously used his cleverness and knowledge he learned in the 19th century to improve and prefect the country he was living in, during the 6th century. He used his knowledge in the field of science and performed what the people in the medieval times, called magic; and as time progressed he became the country¡s most powerful advisor. During this period of time, he kept a journal, which is what most of this book is.
Unlike most of the other stories, the plot of this story was consisted of two time periods, the modern 19th century and the medieval 6th century. The main character, Hank Morgan, was mysteriously sent back and became someone like Jesus because he knew what was happening and what is going to happened already in the history lessons when he was still in the 19th century. A literary device Mark Twain used in this book that made this book very amusing was all the satires Hank used to mock the people in King Arthur¡s court. For example, when a page was introducing himself to Mark, Mark said, ¡§Go ¡¥long, you ain¡t more than a paragraph.¡
I recommend this book for people who want something light and less serious, because this book will give you a good laugh.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What would you do for fun in Camelot?, Jan. 7 2004
By 
Anthony Sanchez (Fredericksburg, va United States) - See all my reviews
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Who has not wondered what they would do if sent back centuries earlier armed with the knowledge of modern life? Mark Twain is perhaps the first writer (at least the first that I know of) who makes a serious effort (with much comedy thrown in) to consider this question.
The main character, Hank Morgan, is mysteriously transported from the then modern age of the late 19th century into the land of Camelot, with King Arthur and his knights. Although the story is well known for the comedic stories within the book, less known is the author's serious statements about human frailties such as prejudice (this book is an outspoken criticism of slavery at a time when the Just Cause myth of the American south was getting its start), superstition, autocracy, blind reliance on tradition, etc. His severity against the Catholic church stings me because that is my faith, but when considering the history of the church and some of the atrocities committed by some church leaders, his denigration is not without some justification.
There is much here for philosophical debate. Twain takes an anti-determinist view of what man is capable of accomplishing, but he is fatalistic about the ability of one person to make a lasting change. I think that he missed the point. Hank Morgan failed not so much because of the forces of custom or the clergy, but because he tried force cultural enlightenment. This is like expecting wisdom from ten year olds simply because they have the lessons of their elders available to them. Cultural improvement is a developmental process and comes from self awareness. The character would have also been improved if he had learned more of his own cultural shortcomings from involvement with this different society. Regardless, this is a highly enjoyable book that shows why it, and the author remains of interest over a century later.
I disagree with the Editorial Review written by the School Library Journal that this book is recommended for as early as fifth grade. I believe that the subject matter would be better considered and discussed with those in later grades.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Conneticut Yankee Big Hit, Twain has done it again!, Oct. 28 2003
By A Customer
Wow! What a book. I myself have only read one other book by Mark Twain and that was Tom Sawyer and I really didn't like it. But my compliments to Mr.Twain on this one. This is a book that I had a hard time putting down. The adventure, humor, and excitement came with every turn of the page. The book is about Hank Morgan who is a young man in Connecticut in the 19th century who is sent back to the 13th century. There he barely escapes death, and I mean barely and later serves an important position in King Author's Court. During his time there he introduces 19th Century technology to the people of the land of Camelot, making him an instant hit. Even though he barely escapes death he still makes rude and contreversial coments toward the king. To find out how the book ends you'll just have to read it. This was a really awsome book and I really enjoy it. I would recomend this to anyone who has an imagination and loves to read adventures with humor as well. I really liked this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Satire but not on same level with Letters From Earth, Sept. 1 2003
By 
Jennifer B. Barton "Beth Barton" (McKinney, Tx) - See all my reviews
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Twain has a way of taking something that we commonly idealize and shooting holes all through it. Where Letters From Earth took aim at religious belief, this time its Camelot. This is a good satire although not as strong as Letters which is a five star multiple reading kind of book.
In Connecicut Yankee, the author runs across Hank Morgan on a tour of Warwick Castle. They "fell together as modest people will in the tail of a herd being shown through". Morgan, however, has an uncommon familiarity with the objects shown and he eventually ends up relating the story of a Connecticut Yankee to Twain after a few hot Scotch whiskeys.
Morgan, it seems, after a crack on the head, found himself transported back to King Arthur's time. After being captured by Sir Kay and being delivered to the Round Table as a trophy, Henry Morgan asserts himself as a master magician over Merlin and sets himself up as "The Boss". He then begins to secretly initiate improvements and reforms such as setting up a clandestine WestPoint, installing telephone lines, starting manufacturing centers and training journalists - all the while balancing the Church and the traditional castes of the country. A misheard comment lands him scheduled to duel Sir Sagramore but is postponed for Sagramore's crusading stint. In the meantime and in preparation for the undetermined date of the duel, Arthur assigns Morgan to the aid of a young girl who comes to the table claiming that a number of princesses are being held captive by ogres. From there he goes on to "magically" fix the Holy Fountains, a spring to which people pilgrimage but has stopped flowing and then, with King Arthur in tow, attempts to travel as a commoner and lands in a world of trouble after he and the King are taken as slaves. It is a fun story with a lot of humorous situations. This is why it is recommended to young readers, I suppose.
However, Twain's biting sarcasm makes it a good book for adults too. His antecdotes are vehicles for pointing out the absurdity of the concept of nobility, the probability that the belief in ogres and magicians meant that the people of the time were largely ignorant and gullible. And in their ignorance, they are cruel. Time and again we come back to this theme. But, back to the sarcasm. For example, one of his methods of getting rid of knights is by turning them into traveling salespeople of various household sundries!
Additional meanings, interpretations, etc. are explored in the afterword and, honestly, unless it had been pointed out I would not have caught it at all. I didn't see this as a treatise on the nature of man although, once explained, I saw that that was there. I enjoyed this simply as a light satirical story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain's Finest Writing, June 26 2003
By A Customer
I read this recently after having kept a copy around for years; I now wish I had read it years ago. It is witty, observant, and a wonderful slice of American history; the
now-vanished steamboat culture comes alive like nowhere
else. However, the best part is the contrast between the author's confident early youthful years and the much later, postwar years of bittersweet reminiscence and regret for what has passed, never to return. A wonderful book - I simply cannot praise it highly enough.
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Life on the Mississippi
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (Paperback - Dec 21 2000)
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