Clemens of the Call: Mark Twain in San Francisco represents a prolific four months of Twain's early writing career.
"Samuel Clemens reported the city news for the San Francisco Daily Morning Call during approximately four months in 1864. This book examines the relationship between the reporter and his paper,...The pieces reprinted here frequently are interesting for their style and for what they tell us of the author's attitudes and experience. Also they are a record of events in San Francisco during the summer and early fall prior to President Lincoln's reelection. They made good reading then, and by and large they still do today. When a writer as creative as Clemens takes a city like San Francisco for his daily beat, is it surprising that the sparkle remains even a century (and nearly a half!) later?" (From the Preface to this book.)
Clemens of the Call contains nearly 200 pieces appropriately attributed to Twain. As a reporter of local items for the Call, Twain covers The Streets of San Francisco, San Francisco's Chinese, The Theatres, Etc., Crime and The Police Court, and serves as Critic and Political Reporter.
Twain, as reporter, covers the most San Franciscan of all occurances--Earthquakes, and even the absence of earthquakes...
"The earthquakes are getting so irregular. When a community get used to a thing, they suffer when they have to go without it...we know of nothing that will answer as a substitute for one of those convulsions--to an unmarried man."
In many of Twain's pieces we see Twain's satire and use of accepted stereotypes, "employed at that time as much for comic purposes as for the expression of social criticism or of a sense of compassion for the wronged." (quote from the author's text)
Twain's writing is never dull, and never without insight.
This collection is rich!