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on 3 June 1999
This edition is the Library of Mark Twain published by the University of California. They are by far the best editions available, but regrettably they are slow in releasing them. You won't be sorry.
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on 28 July 2010
This is a most surprising autobiographical account of Mark Twain's early life as a gold miner. Full of delightful vignettes, humour and heartbreak it is a superb account of success and failure in building the American Dream,

In Hollywood it is within yourself to be the best and to succeed at anything your heart really wants, but in the rest of the world this is derided as claptrap since it is obvious that everyone cannot be successful at everything and the evidence of failure is all around to be seen. But should we live lives of fulfilled realism or of continually dashed hopes spiced by opportunity? There is no truth in either point of view since both are valid and together represent one of life's tensions - is it better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all?

Roughing it is Mark Twain's brilliant and hilarious autobiographical review of this argument seen through America's 1860 Midwest covering his unlikely and incredible career prior to becoming a successful author. In the process he shows how the American dream is full of the nightmare of failure where for every triumph, including his own, dozens are left behind in despair and living rough.

The book concerns the time Twain spent as a gold and silver prospector prior to success as an author and is partly an autobiography and partly a series of stories about the people he met or learnt about in the American west. This is beautifully and loving written, describing the wide variety of unlikely characters inhabiting this world. Twain delightfully evokes accents and voices creates a completely convincing world where his soft sympathy with the many unfortunate individuals that cross his path is a running theme. Twain's understated and dry humour makes the book a tour de force.

He retains his feel for the human struggle as fortunes are made and lost by an unpatentable combination of skill, luck and application and Twain manages to recreate his own blackest moments with complete authenticity. He cleverly and soulfully conveys the human experience of fear mingled with hope and comfort in small things with which we are all familiar.

This is a really marvelous piece of prose that I strongly recommend and is the perfect antidote to the High School Musical view that the world is there for your taking, not because it trashes that hypothesis but because it puts it in a real world context. This book is an adult take on the search for success and how it is paid for.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 May 2014
Mark Twain’s collected (and extensive at nearly 600 pages) ramblings of his time as gold prospector, financial speculator, sailor and budding journalist in the American west are a, by turns, eccentric and darkly comic account, fictionalised, but based on Twain’s own direct experiences of the time he spent in Nevada, Salt Lake City and Hawaii. By its nature, being (partly) a collection of writings published in journals, and its lengthy production process, Roughing It does (at times) come across as rather episodic and disjointed, but Twain’s account is never less than intriguing, educational and frequently hilarious.

Because of the book’s subject matter, Roughing It often reminded me of some of Jack London’s (similarly) semi-autobiographical travel writing, whilst, in terms of the larger-than-life and eccentric characterisations portrayed, I detected echoes of Dickens. The book also draws out some of Twain’s political and social philosophies around racial discrimination and anti-imperialism (in the process belying the fallacy of the American Dream), as well as including a particularly absorbing diatribe against the potential exploitative impact of the press.
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on 26 September 2013
I enjoyed most of the book but was not entirely happy with the Kindle format. Each book started with a complete index of the three books, which was confusing, I wasn't able to access the illustrations (but that may be my fault).
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on 10 January 2014
I was so pleased when I found this on the Kindle. I am familiar with a number of Twain's works but I had never heard of 'Roughing It'. I read the wikipedia entry about it and instantly thought it would be an interesting read. It certainly was that. A brilliant work that gives real insight into the world of the American west. Some of Twain's anecdotes and stories are the best I have ever read and this book is just crammed full of them.
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on 12 April 2014
How could anyone be arrogant enough 'review' Mark Twain? History and literature has already decided on his merits! having said that, this is the most entertaining autobiographical view of the West in the 1800's, a true first person has somethings like 70 chapters! I'm not finished, but notwithstanding the time that has passed since penning...I really enjoyed it so far, and expect I'll continue to...
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on 22 July 2013
This is a hugely entertaining account of the life of a young Mark Twain as he makes his way in the world. He veers from triumph to disaster in almost every chapter, describing as he goes the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the period in a way which brings it vividly into the reader's consciousness. There is a pervading sense of innocence on his part which is thoroughly endearing. A lovely read.
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on 6 February 2015
A remarkable account of a journey across America in the pioneering days. You get a real sense of what it was like to ride on a stage coach and what the wild west towns were really like. Full of accounts of larger than life characters and deeds of daring do
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on 23 July 2013
I love Mark Twains writing style - the very droll sense of humour and descriptions of people and places. I read this book before heading to California and Hawaii and lots of his remarks are still relevant today!
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on 3 February 2016
A great retelling of one man's experiences of the wild west. Twain gives us a good idea of the tough life of the early prospectors, the characters they had to face and what they had to do to survive.
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