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Life On The Mississippi [Paperback]

Mark Twain
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
Price: 8.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2014
Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before and after the American Civil War. The book begins with a brief history of the river. It continues with anecdotes of Twain's training as a steamboat pilot, as the 'cub' of an experienced pilot. He describes, with great affection, the science of navigating the ever-changing Mississippi River. In the second half, the book describes Twain's return, many years later, to travel on a steamboat from St. Louis to New Orleans. He describes the competition from railroads, the new, large cities, and his observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture. He also tells some stories that are most likely tall tales.


Product details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (1 Aug 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1500713546
  • ISBN-13: 978-1500713546
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Description

About the Author

Mark Twain began his career in letters as a printer's apprentice at the age of 12. He worked as a typesetter and hack writer until a trip down the Mississippi inspired him to become a steamboat pilot. Twain was a popular humorist, a failed silver miner, an inventor, a pacifist anti-imperialist, and a vegetarian. He had a strong interest in the paranormal. Twain's novel Huckleberry Finn has profoundly influenced the development of American storytelling. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely in formative 16 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title of this book encouraged me to send for it although I didn't know whether it was going to be interesting for an elderly lady of nearly 86.
Although I have it on Kindle I also sent for the book as I wanted a written record.
I found it thoroughly interesting. Factual, and in some places really funny. The personal experiences related within the book take you back years and yet it is also full of geographical, historical and other data. The author's grasp of human nature was really good too. I could see the old steamboats in my minds eye -0 I wish I could now!! I was completely absorbed with it until I regretfully finished it!!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on the Mississippi 8 Sep 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
This book loosely follows a trip taken by Twain along the length of the Mississippi. The story of the journey is constantly interrupted by short, entertaining tales related to Twain's prior career as a steamboat pilot. I am always impressed with Twain's storytelling abilities, and though this is not like his typical novel, I quickly devoured it. This book may have had additional significance to me considering I spent a decade living along the banks of the Mississippi. Nevertheless, Twain is always great and timeless.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
In a lecture at Harvard in 1967, Borges said that over the years, fueled by his enthusiasm for Huckleberry Finn, he had read and re-read Life on the Mississippi. I also started reading this book because I wanted to return to Huck's world, but do not think I will ever re-read it, though certain passages are evocative and highly memorable. I did find it heavy going at times and tiresomely factual in places. But if you have time to kill and long for Old Man River, there are certainly worse ways to pass the hours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining history 5 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great stories from the pioneering days of american history mixed with the insight of a river steamer pilot into the changing face of the Mississippi. Easy to pick up and put down. Finally it meandered so much I put it down before I'd reached the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Knights and other professional liars 7 Dec 2011
By C
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this, his fifth novel, Mark Twain satirises Arthurian romance with his inimitable wit. The eponymous Yankee, Hank Morgan, suffers a blow to the head and is sent back in time to sixth-century England. There he learns that the members of Arthur's court are naive, deluded idiots who choose to believe in fantastic deeds and embark on pointless quests simply because it is de riguer to do so.

Turning this perceived idiocy to his advantage, Hank attempts to modernise the culture with the eventual aim of overthrowing the monarchy and installing a democracy. He plans to achieve his goal by subtly subverting and eventually destroying the order of knights and the outdated code of chivalry by which they live their lives. The premise of an invading American forcing his beliefs on an underdeveloped culture is one which seems more relevant today than the day it was written.

Twain uses this time-travelling adventure as a vehicle to criticise facets of Medieval British society, such as the Catholic Church (which he believes hinders technological and social progression), the monarchy and the aristocracy, and to espouse the American ideals of freedom and democracy. 'A Connecticut Yankee...' is an enjoyable and amusing parody of Medieval Romance which doesn't require a knowledge of the genre in order for the reader to enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and fun to read 27 Aug 2013
By Frank 9
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As well as lethally sharp & intelligent powers of observation Mark Twain has a beautiful, compassionate and humane sense of humour, which gets lots of exercise in this wonderful autobiographical book. As well as the wealth of fascinating information he presents about this amazing river, there are numerous hilarious anecdotes about his own training as a steamboat river pilot which reveal the astonishing feats of memory and nerve the job required, piloting boats which often were worth more than $4million in today's money down a river which had no lights to help navigate at night, and which bristled with hazards capable of sinking these floating palaces. The constantly shifting shape and banks and river-bed made the job unimagnably difficult, and no wonder the top pilots were princes of the river. Life on the Mississippi is a wonderfully readable record and celebration of an America which was vanishing even as Mark Twain was writing the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars all time favorite 20 Aug 2011
By bappada
Format:Kindle Edition
I am nostalgic about this book, and therefore purchased it. The Kindle edition is nice to read and I liked the pictures. This is a great book, masterly yet entertaining and I enjoyed reading after twenty odd years. In short this is a book about life as well as about one of the greatest rivers in the planet.
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By Jezza
Format:Kindle Edition
Surprisingly good, with lots of thoughtful insights about religion and class. I've never read much of Mark Twain - the orthographic representations of dialect speech always puts me off. But I really enjoyed this, which I downloaded to my Kindle almost by accident. No romanticism of chivalry - quite the opposite. Twain is on the side of the poor and the oppressed, and he makes clear the relationship between serfdom in sixth-century England and slavery in his own time.
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