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Mark Twain at his acerbic best
on May 19, 2012
This is mostly a collection of Mark Twain's journalistic writing, with some fiction thrown in here and there.
Some of it remains astonishingly apposite despite being 120-year-old journalism. For example, we have Mark Twain protesting an unjust war. We have his responses to people who vilify him as a traitor for protesting the war. We have his furious and biting wit directed at the hypocrisy of the religious fanatics of his day when they ignore the Golden Rule but still insist self-righteously on their supposed moral superiority.
Some other pieces are wonderful in how the editor reveals the moral evolution of this great moral teacher: for example, his opposition to female suffrage in 1867 contrasted with the fierce feminism of his later years. The same essay ("Woman's Place") also shows us how the world has changed, for he writes:
"In the public street of Marienbad [Austria] today [around 1900!], I saw an old, bent, gray-headed woman in harness with a dog, drawing a laden sled over bare dirt roads and bare pavements; and at his ease walked the driver, smoking his pipe, a hale fellow not thirty years old."
This book will make you cry, it'll make you laugh, it'll make you despair of the human race, and it'll also make you know hope. Father Mark at his angry best.