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My Autobiography: "Chapters" from the "North American Review" Paperback – 31 Jan 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (31 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486408981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486408989
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,752,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Practical Reviews on 14 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is brilliant, as you would expect from anything written by Mark Twain. However the three stars is because this publication feels not so much a book as a computer printout....it has the feel of one of those "automatically computer generated printout" books. I recommend the autobiography, but not this poor quality printing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mark Twain is the quintesential American curmudgeon. His style formed an era and no one could ever reproduce him although many have tried. Read the book and meet the Man. I laughed out loud and at times was gripped with the wringing unrelenting pathos of this great master. I had to laugh at myself a time or two...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Confessed swindler convicted for honesty 2 Nov. 2011
By H. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
MT dictated a lengthy memoir in 1906, but only selected chapters were published at the time. Selection criterion was harmlessness. The rest would have to wait another 100 years... By now the whole is out. Before I go for that, I wanted to have a preview via the previously available chapters. It is an amusing experience, but it will not shake the ground under your feet. It is a collection of all kinds of stories, old and new, personal and political, private and professional, funny and moving, substantial and trivial. Some of them are true, says MT.

Out of nowhere comes the most moving chapter, the death of daughter Susy at 24, of meningitis. Up to this point in the book, the short chapters are trifles... About this or that funny episode with this or that celebrity or in reference to the master's career.
Susy is the star of the text. At 14 she had attempted to write her version of a bio of her dad, and dad has this bio. He prints bits and pieces and lets himself get carried away into his own recollection, jumping up and down across history as fancy takes him. Very entertaining. Susy got introduced in a chapter that started out as a eulogy for his wife ... And got sidetracked to a great sadness about the beloved daughter. It does make sense, after all the wife had lived her life (though she also died rather young, below 60), while daughter had not.

One has to love the portrait of elder brother Orion. In light matters, like religion or politics, his convictions never survived a disapproving comment from a cat. Otherwise he was honest, sincere and trustworthy. He never lost anybody's money and never earned his own.
Also great are the chapters about the childhood memories which went into Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I learned that Huck Finn's real name was Tom Blankenship. I believe there are some of the offspring still haunting the Ozarks!

I don't normally think that dictation is a great way to write, but then, it does take us back to older habits: before printing and taping, story tellers all worked that way, and it did work. It works reasonably well for MT. He calls himself an embroiderer. His tales have cores of truth. Considering that his way of narration has a long history, one might regret that it nearly died out. Dictation is not entirely the same as telling a story to a life audience, but it comes near. The next step away would be Trollope's writing style: a minimum of pages per day. At the other end of the scale comes the prose stylist who works laboriously at every page that he allows to reach the public eye.
I am tolerant: each method of production has it's justification.

A footnote: I have been paying attention to Halley's Comet and its public appearances in literature. Curious fact about MT: he was born in the year of the comet 1835 and died a day after the next appearance's nearest distance to the earth in 1910. How is that for oddity? Right next to the odd death timing of Adams and Jefferson.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An American Humorist writes about Americans 10 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mark Twain is the quintesential American curmudgeon. His style formed an era and no one could ever reproduce him although many have tried. Read the book and meet the Man. I laughed out loud and at times was gripped with the wringing unrelenting pathos of this great master. I had to laugh at myself a time or two...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Interesting (and usually humorous) recollections from the great writer 5 Feb. 2012
By Ash Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mark Twain dictated his autobiography with the stated intention that it wouldn't be published for 100 years after his death. Accordingly, the first volume (of three) of the first complete edition just came out about a year ago. I intend to begin that soon, but in the meantime I've just finished "Chapters from My Autobiography", selections which were the only parts to be published during Twain's lifetime, in 25 installments in the North American Review in 1906-07.

Not a chronological autobiography, but more a free association of (mostly humorous) stories, these chapters still somehow manage to add up to an integrated picture of the man. Early on he relates the death of his middle daughter Suzie at the age of 25, and from that point on quotes from a biography of him she had written about ten years earlier. This provides some structure, as he quotes passages and then elaborates on them or tells a story they remind him of, but it also provides a sort of emotional line, regularly reminding us of Twain's family life besides his professional life.

These chapters do jump around a lot, ranging from recollections of his boyhood, to his early attempts at making a living, to becoming a successful writer, to his middle age as a family man, to his old age. The effect is a picture of a whole life, even if it is only in snapshots.

And of course, Twain is often very funny, sometimes poignant, and uses language beautifully. Definitely worth reading. And Bronson Pinchot's narration of this audio edition is highly enjoyable. Four and a half stars.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mark Twain is an American Icon 29 July 2008
By Mary S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I appreciate the musings of Mark Twain and learned a lot about him from this autobiography that I had not known. I encourage everyone to get to know about this American Icon.
Interesting (and usually humorous) recollections from the great writer 5 Feb. 2012
By Ash Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mark Twain dictated his autobiography with the stated intention that it wouldn't be published for 100 years after his death. Accordingly, the first volume (of three) of the first complete edition just came out about a year ago. I intend to begin that soon, but in the meantime I've just finished "Chapters from My Autobiography", selections which were the only parts to be published during Twain's lifetime, in 25 installments in the North American Review in 1906-07.

Not a chronological autobiography, but more a free association of (mostly humorous) stories, these chapters still somehow manage to add up to an integrated picture of the man. Early on he relates the death of his middle daughter Suzie at the age of 25, and from that point on quotes from a biography of him she had written about ten years earlier. This provides some structure, as he quotes passages and then elaborates on them or tells a story they remind him of, but it also provides a sort of emotional line, regularly reminding us of Twain's family life besides his professional life.

These chapters do jump around a lot, ranging from recollections of his boyhood, to his early attempts at making a living, to becoming a successful writer, to his middle age as a family man, to his old age. The effect is a picture of a whole life, even if it is only in snapshots.

And of course, Twain is often very funny, sometimes poignant, and uses language beautifully. Definitely worth reading. And Bronson Pinchot's narration of this audio edition is highly enjoyable. Four and a half stars.
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