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Life on the Mississippi Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
Writing in the first half of the 1870s, Twain retraces the steps of his youth: the watery highway he knew when he trained to be a riverboat pilot nearly 20 years earlier. He speaks of how life _was_ along the river, and what life _became_. It's almost a "you can't go home again" experience for him, while the reader gets the benefit of discovering both time periods.
I have two favorite parts that I share with others. Chapter IX includes a wonderful dissertation about how learning the navigational intricacies of the river caused Twain to lose the ability to see its natural beauty. And Chapter XLV includes an assessment of how the people of the North and the South reacted differently to the war experience. If I were a social studies teacher, I'd use that last passage in a unit on the reconstruction period. So put this title on your vacation reading list, and don't fret: the chapters are short and are many -- 60! -- but you can stop at any time, and the words go by fast. _Life on the Mississippi_ should make you forget all about any Twain trauma and report-writing you may have suffered as a teenager. [This reviewer was an Illinois resident when these comments were written.]
Most recent customer reviews
I read this recently after having kept a copy around for years; I now wish I had read it years ago. Read morePublished on June 26 2003
In Life on the Mississippi, Twain recounts his river experiences from boyhood to riverboat captain and beyond. Read morePublished on April 2 2003 by nto62
The best work by Twain I've read to date. This combination history, memoir, travelogue, and collection of sketches is both humorous and entertaining. Read morePublished on June 2 2002 by Curtis Lane
This book was actually required reading for one of my college classes. I really like the parts of the book where Twain talks about the river and becoming a steamboat captain, but... Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2001
As always, Mark Twain is a pleasure to read. However, after a while this book sort of lags along. Twain's tale of his post-civil war trip down the river is not interesting enough... Read morePublished on May 21 2001 by Rachel Hershberg
If you are unacquainted with Twain's work, this is the ideal starting point. So much of his life was spent by and on the River that it has saturated into many of his greatest... Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2000 by David K.
Mark Twain, the most globally recognised of the greatest American writers, comes closest to autobiography in this odd and fascinating book. Read morePublished on June 6 2000 by Margaret Fiore
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