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The Innocents Abroad (Signet Classics)

176 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0451530493
ISBN-10: 0451530497
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Editorial Reviews


“There was never anybody like him; there never will be.”—William Dean Howells

From the Publisher

14 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451530497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451530493
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,538 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on November 7, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Twain is the Lincoln of our literature. Sam Clemens (1835-1910) wrote Huckleberry Finn in 1885 which has been acclaimed as our greatest American novel. Lesser known are his wonderful travelogues: "Roughing It' "Following the Equator"; "Life on the Mississippi and "The Innocents Abroad" published in 1869. This book is worth reading even 140 years after its publication. Twain style is a joy to read for he was a born storyteller and communicates his thoughts well on the page.
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.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ok, maybe that is a minor overstatement, but this is one hilarous book, to be read by people who have travelled, who plan to travel, and generally, people who want to laugh. A lot.
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.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on December 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Cliches aside, retrieving the outlook of mid-19th Century isn't easy. Having successfully concluded the upheaval of the War Between the States, the people of the USA, while bruised, felt confident. Their sense of righteousness was enhanced - they'd quelled a rebellion and freed slaves. Some took that attitude to other lands. The 1867 SS Quaker City excursion to Europe and the "Holy Land" was but one of those forays. It was special in that it carried one of the more discerning observers the United States had produced - Sam Clemens of Hannibal, Missouri and points West. He was to post letters to the San Francisco newspaper "Daily Alta California" describing the journey. The trip and the account opened Clemens' eyes and those of his readers over numerous legends.

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.
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