- File Size: 116422 KB
- Print Length: 212 pages
- Publisher: Skyhorse (February 4, 2014)
- Publication Date: February 4, 2014
- Sold by: Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00I2G6RKQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Roughing It Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, February 4, 2014||
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From the Publisher
Roughing It tells the true-ish escapades of Twain in the American West. Although he clearly "speaks with forked tongue," Roughing It is informative as well as humorous. From stagecoach travel to the etiquette of prospecting, the modern reader gains considerable insight into that much-fictionalized time and place. Do you know about sagebrush, for example?
Sage-brush is very fair fuel, but as a vegetable it is a distinguished failure. Nothing can abide the taste of it but the jackass and his illegitimate child, the mule. But their testimony to its nutritiousness is worth nothing, for they will eat pine knots, or anthracite coal, or brass filings, or lead pipe, or old bottles, or anything that comes handy, and then go off looking as grateful as if they had had oysters for dinner.Roughing It is informally structured around the narrator's attempts to strike it rich. He meets a motley, colorful crew in the process; many mishaps occur, and it shouldn't surprise you that Twain does not emerge a man of means. But he withstands it all in such a relentless good humor that his misfortune inspires laughter. Roughing It is wonderful entertainment and reminds you how funny the world can be--even its grimmer districts--when you're traveling with the right writer. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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"I never had been away from home, and that word 'travel' had a seductive charm for me. Pretty soon we would be hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts, and among the mountains of the Far West, and would see buffaloes and Indians, and prairie dogs, and antelopes, and have all kinds of adventures, and maybe get hanged or scalped, and have ever such a fine time, and write home and tell us all about it, and be a hero."
"We jumped into the stage[coach], the driver cracked his whip, and we bowled away and left 'the States' behind us. It was a superb summer morning, and all the landscape was brilliant with sunshine. There was freshness and breeziness, too, and an exhilarating sense of emancipation from all sorts of cares and responsibilities, that almost made us feel that the years we had spent in the close, hot city, toiling and slaving, had been wasted and thrown away."
It is a mixed bag of stories and anecdotes, but most importantly it is one of the most influential books of early American travel literature genre and captured the imagination of the "Old West". Much of it seems cliche now, but it was in part Twain who helped invent and popularize it. It is an authentic primary source that captures the feel and flavor of its time, including a few tall tales. Having traveled out west myself on a number of explorative mis-adventures I could really visualize and understand Twains sense of awe and wonderment, in fact its part of the American psyche, a part of me, and this book was a key in that mythical creation.
Gutenberg has a HTML version online which includes scans of the lithograph pictures from the original which is recommended since many books omit the pictures, which are otherwise numerous and good. It was originally released on a subscription-basis. Twain had difficulties completing it with deaths in the family and writers block (it was his 3rd book and by far his longest at 600 pages). It didnt sell well at first, his earlier book Innocents Abroad did much better, which takes place after the Roughing period, but was written before, and is also a travel narrative, about a trip to Europe and Asia Minor.
The 21st century reader now sees the momentous impact of Samuel Colt's "Navy Revolver" on frontier society, fully comprehends a "Stamp Mill's" importance to the silver mines of the Comstock Lode, and is in complete agreement about the "thoroughbrace's" necessity to the Overland Stage traveler's comfort! This edition also contains all 304 first edition illustrations, another great aid allowing the modern reader to take a virtual walk into a vanished time.
In the "Foreword" to this edition, Editor Harriet Elinor Smith notes, " The vernacular style of ROUGHING IT often seems surprisingly fresh to modern readers.....". I'm betting that many readers, younger ones especially, may approach this book with dread, only to become immersed in the rollicking adventure, and reach the end of ROUGHING IT with regret. The readers who return for a second, third or more reading, will discover many levels of depth to ROUGHING IT that will continue to entertain and educate reading after reading, year after year.
From the "Foreword" to this edition, Editor Smith also observes, "Although readers have long been entertained by ROUGHING IT, it has gradually become part of all serious study of American culture. Students of history have come to rely on it for accurate information about the period, and it has played a major role in shaping the myth of the "Wild West".......No examination of American popular culture would be complete without Mark Twain's imaginative reminiscence of what it was like to be "on the ground in person"".
So, if you are tired of all this bickering between the North and South, and feel it may be healthier to get away from the tensions, I hear tell there's a great silver strike in a new territory called "Nevada", near a place called "Virginia City". It's July 1861 and there is an Overland Stage westbound, St Joseph, Missouri to Carson City, Nevada Territory.
Buckle on your Navy Colt and climb aboard!
Top international reviews
(But the story up to that point is very entertaining, well worth reading, buy from another publisher).
The book is basically an assembly of individual, short, simple and uninspiring stories where the author didn't seem to put the extra effort in that is usually required to deliver a great product.