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Roughing It Hardcover – September 1, 2001
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I liked this book more than I did the better-known Life on the Mississippi.
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.
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Twain at his best.