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The Innocents Abroad (Signet Classics)
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Twain was a reporter who joined the six month expedition to Europe and the Middle East on board the steamer "Quaker City." The pleasure tour had
been organized by the famous pastor Henry Ward Beecher (sibling of Harriet Ward Beecher) and Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. Neither of these notable made the trip citing other obligations.
Twain roomed with a young man from Elmira New York. He would later visit Elmira and meet his friend's sister Olivia. She would become his wife and the mother of the couple's three daughters.
The Innocents Abroad is a long book of 400,000 words covering over 500 densely written pages. Twain takes a sardonic, humorous view of European art as he guides us through the Louvre, Florence Italy and Rome. We visit London, Paris and meet with Czar Alexander II in the Crimea. Twain had a keen reporter's eye and a humorist's ability to paint word pictures of his fellow passengers,tour guides and natives of the fascinating cities and countries he visited on a busy itinerary.
As a Presbyterian pastor I found the most interesting part of the book dealt with Twain's tour of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and Israel. He was upset by the filth, disease and cruelty he saw in the land of Moses and Jesus Christ.Read more ›
The book is also surprising for its timeless points about the journeying of certain upper white, middle class people going on a grand tour of Europe. I frequently had to remind myself that it was written in 1869 because his observations and the behavior of his shipmates is so close to the way people I studied abroad with acted-only a few years ago.
Twain also puts those "cosmopolitan" people who claim to have traveled, but don't know anything about any place they have been but and just like to lord it over everyone else that they have "travelled" and you have not.
Reading this book is like listening to a very wise, old man tell you about his adventures. Its not like a book, more like one long conversation. Twain takes nothing seriously-not himself, his fellow travelers or the places they visit. The words are another adventure-sometimes, you know he is setting you up for something, other times he is serious for a while, then you end up in the middle of a joke.
I know this is against the rules, but the other posters who don't like this book-don't be so serious and p.c. all the time. Twain is making humorous observations, at a time when a different standard was acceptable. Not to mention, he does manage to get a few zingers in there about what people are willing to accept and what they do not.
You will laugh yourself silly and want to book a trip-not to Europe, just to anywhere, after reading this book.
In Clemens' baggage was a strong religious sense imparted by his mother, Jane. This cargo was balanced by Twain's more worldly experience on the Mississippi and his life in the mining communities in the West. When he crossed the gangplank to board the steamer, his gaze was sceptical and his pen ascerbic. His portrayal of the Quaker City's passengers began as they traversed the Atlantic, but it is his depiction of "foreigners" in their homelands that both shocks and enlightens. Starting with the Azores stopover, Clemens' observations of the islands are a tribute to their charms. Of the people, however, he has little positive to impart. They are dirty, noisy, conniving and devious. In general, they're "not American".
The use of the "innocents" is exemplified by Twain's description of contact with the Europeans. Educated in the minimal language training of the day, the travellers struggled to impart their wishes in French shops and restaurants.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A hugely entertaining look at Europe and the middle east through the eyes of an American on his first trip out of the country. Read morePublished 7 days ago by jeffrey wagner
I love Mark Twain and how relevant his dry satire and comedy is, even to this day. I really enjoyed this book.Published 18 days ago by Brittany K. Stevens
The work by Twain is in itself great; I enjoyed reading it. However, this particular edition is poor quality. The text looks as though it were run off on an old, cheap copier. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amy
Book in good shape. Service fine. Text is so small as to be almost unreadable. May be a print on demand or reprint of an older text, but the print is not extremely small. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jane Mary Curran
Good perspective of travel in mid 19th century and at start of Mark Twain's illustrious career.
Good price and service
I wish I could have been on that ship with Twain going around the world.
Felt like I was!
So funny. Nothing has really has changed in 150 years.
This book is pure gold to any fan of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). The only flaw is the 2010 Intro by a politically correct academic.Published 3 months ago by james sandrin