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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition Hardcover – Oct 5 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 776 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 11th ed. edition (Oct. 5 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520272781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520272781
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 6.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The great American author, aided by his scholarly editors, continues to spin out a great yarn covering his long life. . . . Twain admirers will find this volume indispensable and wil eagerly await the third volume." STARRED REVIEW
(Kirkus Reviews 2013-07-01)

"Meticulously edited. . . . A treasure deserving shelf space next to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer." STARRED REVIEW
(Bryce Christensen Booklist 2013-09-15)

"Twain is incapable of going more than a few paragraphs without making you laugh or think hard. . . . Don't loan this book out: you'll never see it again."
(Bloomberg Pursuits 2013-10-01)

"Another delightful round of humor and candor, reminiscence and insider sketches of the people and politics of Twain’s day."
(The Sacramento Bee 2013-09-28)

"Contains more of Twain’s ranging, astute, and unfailingly candid portrayals of his private and public lives. Excoriations of politicians appear next to affectionate family stories and bemused observations on the absurdities of life, helping to fill out our understanding of America’s greatest humorist."
(The New Yorker, Page-Turner 2013-10-02)

"Set aside all ideas of starting at the beginning and reading through to the end. This is a book to keep on your bedside table, or in the kitchen, or the garage, or anyplace else you might want to pick it up. Follow Clemens' own advice in reading it, as he did in writing it: Start reading at no particular point; wander at your free will all over it; read only about the thing that interests you for the moment; drop it the moment its interest threatens to pale; and turn your eye upon the new and more interesting thing that has intruded itself into your gaze meantime. Believe me, there are plenty of these in this wonderful volume."
(The Hartford Courant 2013-10-03)

"One sees a mind bubbling and hears a uniquely American voice."
(Literary Review 2013-10-01)

"Twain traveled extensively and befriended many luminaries, and his colorful experiences give the book the same Dickensian scope as the first volume, and presents a vivid picture of America in the 19th century and Twain’s indelible mark on it."
(Publishers Weekly 2013-10-01)

"This is vintage Twain—timeless, and still germane."
(BookPage 2013-10-04)

"Twain is frequently sad and cynical in these late-in-life writings (just a few years before his death) but his devastating wit and sharp-eyed commentary are on full display as well."
(Christian Science Monitor)

"The publishing sensation of the year."
(Jonah Raskin San Francisco Chronicle 2013-10-11)

"What we’ve inherited is no ordinary book. You may begin at the beginning and read to its end; you may reach into it like a grab bag and enjoy whatever you pull out. It doesn’t matter."
(Dallas Morning News 2013-10-12)

"Twain ambles through eternal truths and trivia, telling of world events and personal piques. Witticisms appear at random intervals, and the ensuing laughter can be dangerous to the lower extremities if one doesn’t have a vicelike grip on this weighty tome."
(The Christian Science Monitor 2013-10-16)

"In case you had any doubt about it, the new book demonstrates that Twain dictated as well as he wrote."
(The Washington Post 2013-10-13)

"One of the more marvelous literary projects of our time."

(The Buffalo News 2013-10-20)

"As much a sensitive and articulate historical work as an autobiography, the book is almost inexhaustible in its content. . . . What seems like a mountain of anecdotal scraps and opinions results in a clear picture of Clemens as Twain."
(Library Journal 2013-11-15)

"If you surrender yourself to the sound of his voice, the pleasure of Twain’s company proves pretty hard to resist. His narrative may be loose, but at least it never loses sight of its subject."
(The New Yorker, Page-Turner 2013-11-14)

From the Inside Flap

Praise for Volume 1

“It feels like a form of time travel. One moment you’re on horseback in the Hawaiian islands — or recovering from saddle boils with a cigar in your mouth — and the next moment you’re meeting the Viennese maid he called, in a private joke, ‘Wuthering Heights.’ We can hardly wait for Volume 2.”— New York Times

“Twain's autobiography, finally available after a century, is a garrulous outpouring—and every word beguiles.”— Wall Street Journal

“I start reading Twain’s Autobiography at any page and don’t want to stop, for the sheer voluptuous pleasure of the prose.”— Roger Ebert

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d0cf36c) out of 5 stars 112 reviews
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d357f54) out of 5 stars Twain Revisited -- Volume 2 Sept. 23 2013
By C. Hutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As with the first volume that was published three years ago, this autobiography is an oversize hardbook which means it may not fit into a bookshelf with other more traditional hardbooks. Also this edition is a rambling text with no chronological sequence. Mark Twain told stories as he remembered them as they came to him.

The good news is that there is more narrative of Twain's memories (450+ pages) and that all of the scholarly information (280+ pages) is at the end, unlike Volume 1. The only complaint is that half of the end-notes should have been brief footnotes to explain the context of the events and persons. The reader will need to shuttle back and forth now. What the reader has here is Mark Twain's true speaking voice --he is doing a monologue in your presence, going wherever his memory takes him. And it is pretty funny as he comments on the events of his times and settles literary scores -- see his savage critique on Bret Harte (page 119), as an example. If the reader read Volume 1, this volume is even better.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d3581bc) out of 5 stars Twain Speaks Jan. 1 2014
By simon loekle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The fact that Mark Twain could have best-sellers in 3 successive centuries says something about him, and something about us. His preferred method of composition, at the end of his life, was dictation which gives the text a liveliness that is quite enchanting. Some may be put off by the wealth of annotation, but a job worth doing is worth doing right, so a grateful tip of the hat to the editors.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d358180) out of 5 stars Volume 2 somewhat less enjoyable than Volume 1 -- but only slightly. Feb. 26 2014
By Mary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After finishing the second half of Twain's biograpy, I debated about giving it four stars instead of five, principally because of its rather surprising "abrupt" ending, but decided that the collective work is so remarkable in its format (so "Twain") that it deserves five. I actually have both volumes on my Kindle -- as well as in hard copies -- since their large size makes them cumbersome to hold -- much less read. But Twain's decision to dictate his words -- exactly as his thoughts emerged -- with no attention to either chronology or order of priority, makes this unique autobiography all the more interesting to read. It is as if you were spending time with him -- perhaps over a mint julip -- while he is recalling incidents, expressing opinions, and sharing his innermost private thoughts. HIs decision to not have the work published until 100 years after his death meant that his opinions could be freely expressed without risk of offending living individuals, or their family members. As a result, this is an ecclectic mix of a tell-all book and an intimate self-portrait, laced throughout with the expected humorous anecdotes typical of this beloved American author.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d358474) out of 5 stars The most human tale of a Giant's life Oct. 29 2013
By Robert Hogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The simpliest way to review this wonderful book is to say it is as though I was sitting on his lap and he was telling me these great stories as my Grandfather. His humanity pores off each page. No one does it better.
What a gift to the world he was and is.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d3584d4) out of 5 stars Just As Fascinating as the First Volume Nov. 1 2014
By Steve Vrana - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you only know Mark Twain from a vague memory of having read "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" or "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" when you were in school, you don't know Mark Twain.

Author, critic and playwright William Dean Howells--and Twain's friend for more than four decades--referred to Twain as "the Lincoln of our literature." But that was only one facet of Twain's life. He was a journeyman printer, steamboat pilot, newspaper reporter, prospector, world traveler, platform lecturer, inventor, businessman, family man, and at the time of his death he was the most recognizable man on the planet.

For almost forty years, I taught "Huck Finn" to my high school students and read everything about Mark Twain that I could find, including the original edition of his autobiography as well as published collections of his letters and biographies by Justin Kaplan ("Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain) Ron Powers ("Mark Twain: A Life").

Just when you think you have learned everything about Twain, the University of California Press comes out with the definitive version of his autobiography. Vol. 1, which came out four years ago during the centennial year of Twain's death, shined a light in corners of Twain's life that had not yet been exposed. This second volume does more of the same.

This is not for the casual fan. (The would better be served by Powers' excellent biography mentioned earlier.) But if you want to know Twain on an intimate level, you will want nothing less than each installment of this sprawling autobiography. Much of this may be seen as ephemera, like Twain's commentary on a passage from Susy's Biography regarding how numerous the houseflies were at the Hartford home. To the delight of the children, Olivia placed a bounty on flies, and the children went so far as to recruit neighbor children to provide them with flies to collect the bounty. Through each of these hundreds of anecdotes we get a glimpse of this remarkable 19th century renaissance man. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED