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Life on the Mississippi Hardcover – Large Print, April 1, 1965

ISBN-13: 978-0939495795 ISBN-10: 0939495791

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Hardcover, Large Print, April 1, 1965
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 558 pages
  • Publisher: North Books (April 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939495791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939495795
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (522 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,853,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Memoir of the steamboat era on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War by Mark Twain, published in 1883. The book begins with a brief history of the river from its discovery by Hernando de Soto in 1541. Chapters 4-22 describe Twain's career as a Mississippi steamboat pilot, the fulfillment of a childhood dream. The second half of Life on the Mississippi tells of Twain's return, many years after, to travel the river from St. Louis to New Orleans. By then the competition from railroads had made steamboats passe, in spite of improvements in navigation and boat construction. Twain sees new, large cities on the river, and records his observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

In the end, I guess it wasn't really the book I expected it to be.
fra7299
In the novel, A Connecticut in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain shows the differences between modern society, and sixth century Great Britain.
Nick Robillard
It is a fascinating account of both Twain's life and one of the greatest rivers in the world, the Mississippi.
Steve Pesicka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 96 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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178 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Kiwi on July 21, 2010
When you do the "Look Inside" thing, you'll read "This view is of the Mass Market Paperback edition (1983) from Bantam Classics. The Paperback edition (2010) from General Books LLC that you originally viewed is the one you'll receive if you click the Add to Cart button at left." And that's correct. The General Books LLC version is a completely different book. To wit....

General Books LLC puts together books using an OCR automated scanning device which can miss complete pages. There are many many Typos and no table of contents. There books receive NO EDITING of any kind, also, the OCR scanning is done by a robot (which the publishers website outright says can miss pages). This is all stated on the publishers web site (google them and read for yourself to get all the details). Almost every review of books published by General Books LLC (around 500,000 of them from one imprint or another now listed on Amazon) by buyers is negative, many are extremely so.

As the General Books LLC version has reviews of other publishers versions associated with it, you need to be very careful to make sure you've bought a decent version. If you have bought the version from General Books LLC by mistake, you can return to Amazon within 30 days(but check Amazon's Return Policy for the details).
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53 of 57 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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28 of 28 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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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on January 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
You might wonder what prompted Mark Twain to sidle from "straight" fiction into the realm of outright fantasy. Twain transports a Connecticut shop foreman twelve centuries into the past [and 5 000 kilometres!] to Camelot and Arthur's court. Initially confused and dismayed, Hank Morgan's Yankee practicality is quickly aroused and he becomes a major figure among the panopolied knights. With the title of The Boss, his rank equals The King or The Pope with its uniqueness. His elevation doesn't distract him from a more profound impulse, however. Hank's Yankee roots and wide experience evoke an ambition - nothing less than revolution. He wants to sweep away the monarchy and aristocracy and establish an American-style republic in Arthurian Britain.
Mark Twain's scathing criticism of the sham of hereditary monarchy bolstered by an Established Church makes this among his choicest writings. He resents the condition of a Church which "turned a nation of men into a nation of worms." A fervent believer in individual freedom, Twain uses Hank to voice his disdain of Britain's royalty. It's no more than might be expected of a man who boasted of but one ancestor - who sat on the jury that executed Charles I. Hank knows revolutions never succeed when implemented from above. Revolution be achieved only when the individual's attitude changes from meek acceptance to
self assertion. Hank's method reaches people through clandestine schools and factories, publication of a newspaper and establishment of a telephone system. These new forms of manufacture and communication become the foundation by which Hank expects to abolish the ancient, mis-named, chivalric tradition. Does he change the course of history?
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