- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 31 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Phoenix Books
- Audible.com Release Date: February 3, 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001RMWBCK
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Letters from the Earth Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Satan's letters to his fellow angels about how people on Earth view God, Heaven, and Hell are so right-on that it makes one wonder that people could ever believe in much of it. Twain/Clemens was an agnostic who became bitter about religion after the tragic deaths of all but one of his immediate family (and that one, a daughter, shunned him for many years). His philosophy ran along the lines of (to paraphrase him), if you want good weather go to Heaven, but if you want good companionship, hell would be a better destination. His picture of a god who sits on a throne enjoying the endless singing and harp playing praises of the ever-growing population of heaven while totally ignoring all of the prayers of the living is very frank, explicit, hilarious and also a bit chilling when one considers how many people pray they will be accepted into the flock of songsters and harp-players when they die.
Letters from the Earth confirms Twain's world-class status as an acute and objective observer of the human condition - particularly for the hypocritical aspects of institutional religions whose goals Twain saw were to control mankind, not serve it. Letters from the Earth should be required reading for every high school-er (and adult who hasn't yet read it); I can think of no better text to stimulate critical thinking about religion in both its beneficial and self-serving aspects - especially in this era when Christianity has been conflated by some with greedy Capitalism. Twain himself described his writing in this work as "sarcastic" - but it was sarcasm with well-deserved purpose. One of my favorite quotes (and there are many) describes the Creator's view of his own handiwork: "He took a pride in man; man was his finest invention; man was his pet, after the housefly . . . ."