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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Books of Wonder) Hardcover – November 21, 1988


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5 Up-While Mark Twain is most often identified with his childhood home on the Mississippi, he wrote many of his enduring classics during the years he lived in Hartford, Connecticut. He had come a long way from Hannibal when he focused his irreverent humor on medieval tales, and wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The hit on the head that sent protagonist Hank Morgan back through 13 centuries did not affect his natural resourcefulness. Using his knowledge of an upcoming eclipse, Hank escapes a death sentence, and secures an important position at court. Gradually, he introduces 19th century technology so the clever Morgan soon has an easy life. That does not stop him from making disparaging, tongue-in-cheek remarks about the inequalities and imperfections of life in Camelot. Twain weaves many of the well-known Arthurian characters into his story, and he includes a pitched battle between Morgan's men and the nobility. Kenneth Jay's narration is a mix of good-natured bonhomie for Hank and more formal diction for the arcane Olde English speakers. Appropriate music is used throughout to indicate story breaks and add authenticity to scenes. This good quality recording is enhanced by useful liner notes and an attractive case. Younger listeners may need explanations of less familiar words, and some knowledge of the Knights of the Round Table will be helpful. Libraries completing an audiobook collection of Twain titles will enjoy this nice, but not necessary, abridgement.

Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Dufris's enthusiastic narration is perfect; the deep drawl he produces might very well be the voice of Twain himself, and his pacing and comedic timing will delight listeners." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Audio Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Series: Books of Wonder
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (November 21, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688063462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688063467
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (637 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,959,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, satirist, social critic, lecturer and novelist. He is mostly remembered for his classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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Customer Reviews

The beginning of the book had a very interesting attention grabber.
Ashley Will
As with all of Mark Twain's work this book works on two very different levels.
BigT
I found this to likely be the most interesting book I have ever read.
StoryReader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 109 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on March 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me guess: your total exposure to Mark Twain came in high school, when you were forced to read about the antics of Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer, right? Well, now that you've reached adulthood, you should make time to read _Life on the Mississippi_. It's mandatory reading if you live in a state that borders the great river, anywhere from Minnesota down to Louisiana. It's mandatory reading if you have come to that point in life when you can suddenly appreciate American history and post-Civil War stories written by someone who lived through that time.
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.]
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By StoryReader on December 9, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this to likely be the most interesting book I have ever read. The attention to detail and description place you within the story. This book is actually, I believe, an autobiography of Mark Twain's (Samuel Clemmons) life as a young man piloting steamboats up and down the Mississippi River.

Whether the man, Mark Twain, interests you or not, Life on the Mississippi, is an eye opening look at America in an earlier era.

In my (humble) opinion this is Mark Twain's best work.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Fitzgerald Fan VINE VOICE on December 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great novel! Twain is wonderfully funny, yet his scathing social commentary concerning his own times are as serious as a heart attack.

When a Connecticut Yankee gets sent back in time to King Arthur's Court, he decides his superior knowledge should be used to educate such an "ignorant race." Of course, we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and if I didn't know better, I would say that the person who coined the phrase did so after finishing this novel. The story's main character, Hank Morgan, is a likeable, if not laughable character, yet as most of us already know: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Once technology gets on a roll, the beast of civilization takes off running and Morgan cannot pull in the reigns. Total disaster ensues (incase you had not already guessed).

This was a fun read and a look at a problem that is still very much alive today. Too much civilization can be like a disease, especially when those who are working to spread it find that they are doing it for reasons other than altruism.

Also, do you remember the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when Indiana Jones whips out his gun to shoot the sword-wielding Sultan? That scene was surely lifted from this very book!

Trust me, this is a novel for thought, but one that will not bore you. Twain was a master and this is perhaps my favorite of his novels. Very highly recommended.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By BigT on February 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
As with all of Mark Twain's work this book works on two very different levels. The first of course is a simple adventure story the second is a bitingly satiric work that unmasks many of the hypocracies of "conventional wisdom".

I have to believe that most of his readers of his time (and ours) did not understand his underlying messages regarding society and its institutions. For me, it was hard to miss the way he unmasked the church, the state and society as a whole. I had to laugh out loud at some of the ways he managed to expose the absurdities of government and religion.

This book is a quick read and is immensely satisfying if the reader takes the time to follow Twain's logic to its natural conclusions.
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