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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – June 14, 2001
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From the Back Cover
In this classic satiric novel, published in 1889, Hank Morgan, a supervisor in a Connecticut gun factory, falls unconscious after being whacked on the head. When he wakes up and finds himself in Britain in 528, he is immediately captured, hauled back to Camelot, and sentenced to death.
But Hank is a quick-witted and enterprising fellow, and in the process of saving his life he turns himself into a celebrity of the highest magnitude. His Yankee ingenuity and knowledge of the world beyond the Dark Ages are regarded as the most powerful sorcery—winning him the eternal enmity of a jealous Merlin. In an effort to bring democratic principles and mechanical knowledge to the kingdom, Hank introduces newspapers, telephones, bicycles, and other modern conveniences to the Dark Ages. But when he tries to improve the lot of the common people, chaos and war result, giving a bittersweet tone to this comic masterpiece by one of America's greatest storytellers.
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As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is actually quite long. Parts feel repetitive and parts feel unnecessary, but it is still good writing and mostly enjoyable. I was expecting a light and easy read, and while this is not exactly that, it is still a great look into the witty mind of Mark Twain.
This Kindle edition was transcribed fine but there are some issues with spacing. Parts of the book have return carriages so that if your font is not sized very small, each line is broken up into a couple of smaller, truncated lines. This does not always make for a smooth read, but it is only in a few parts of the book, so no big deal.
After being hit in the head so hard that it "seemed to spring every joint in my skull and made it overlap its neighbor", Hank Morgan, a citizen of late-19th-century Connecticut, finds himself being chased up a tree by one of King Arthur's Knights. When he accepts that these people are not insane (Somehow the notion that HE might be in a delirium never occurs to him), he decides that, because of his vastly superior education, he'll be running this country within a few years. And he is. Then he decides to overthrow the ancient barbarities and institute true civilization. And he does. For a while.
Mr. Twain uses the notion of time travel the way the best fantasy and science fiction authors use their genres: to compare and contrast today's world. And, being Mark Twain, he does it well.
It's odd how the abused are curiously sheltered, as if their maturing stopped when they began to be abused and they never matured past that. So the cynic can be curiously naive.
This book came to me when I was about 11. I loved it and still remember large sections of it from that glorious pubescent reading. This, my second reading, I have read it a second time now, and I am now five years older than Twain was when it was published. Now I find it delightful and I laugh an adolescent's laugh (Truly little boys never grow up. Our toys just get more expensive) at his merciless tweaking the nose of authority.
But now I find naive the notion that Hank could have become "The Boss" and second in command of England as easily as that. Nor do I think his takeover could have been nearly so complete.
What rings true is how that takeover could come crashing down so completely, so suddenly. Twain believed in reason and education. I think tradition, prejudice, and emotion trump them.
That having been said, I love this book! I recommend it without qualification and I hope to hear rebuttals to my comments.
But metaphor is all with Twain...