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Life on the Mississippi [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Mark Twain
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (384 customer reviews)


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Book Description

April 1965 0939495791 978-0939495795
Mark Twain's own story of his youthful years as a cub-pilot on a steamboat plowing up and down the Mississippi River.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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.

From the Publisher

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

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 (384 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,523,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Twain�s Greatest! 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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169 of 185 people found the following review helpful
By Kiwi
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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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
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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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book I Would Choose On A Deserted Island. 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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Killer classic...Serious Message with Big, Big Humor! 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Choice for an Audio Book
Fantastic story and fantastic reading. The reader was perfect for Mark Twain's style. This book made our 14-hour drive bearable. Read more
Published 7 days ago by SDH
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain
I have always loved reading Mark Twain. He has been an inspiration into my reading. His books have been the reason for me to read.
Published 11 days ago by Tonya osborne
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good. Interisting.
Very good. Interisting.
Published 14 days ago by AlfromPA
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reads all
One of the best pieces I have read in sometime. Who else writes like Samuel Clemens? A river boat pilot no less!
Published 16 days ago by Terence A. Wright
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great.
It's a good piece of history. Not great, just good. I felt l8ke I was there. But there were more exciting things going on than learning how to pilot a river boat.
Published 22 days ago by Pet dad1
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic
If you don't like Twain's political polemics, you can skip them. The story crackles and has some really funny episodes. It is early science fiction and a good read.
Published 22 days ago by Timothy Fohl
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
Sam is always a joy to read. This book has many side stories in it which are enjoyable. You feel like you are riding on a riverboat.
Published 25 days ago by dennis c. cook
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
A classic work of American fiction by a master, Mark Train. Kindle version a great addition to my Kindle library.
Published 26 days ago by William Collins
3.0 out of 5 stars i had not known this story was so good
I bought this book to try out the audio book service at amazon. The narration was very good but did not synch up correctly with the ebook. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Connecticutt. Yankee in King Arthur's Court
I just like Mark Twain's style of writing and his imagination. It is an easy read and he is a very good story teller.
Published 1 month ago by William A. Henwood
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