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The Innocents Abroad: Or, the New Pilgrim's Progress (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – 21 Feb 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library Inc; New edition edition (21 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812967054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967050
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,836,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A classic work . . . [that] marks a critical point in the development of our literature."--Leslie A. Fiedler

A classic work . . . [that] marks a critical point in the development of our literature. Leslie A. Fiedler"

From the Inside Flap

The Innocents Abroad is one of the most prominent and influential travel books ever written about Europe and the Holy Land. In it, the collision of the American "New Barbarians" and the European "Old World" provides much comic fodder for Mark Twain--and a remarkably perceptive lens on the human condition. Gleefully skewering the ethos of American tourism in Europe, Twain's lively satire ultimately reveals just what it is that defines cultural identity. As Twain himself points out, "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." And Jane Jacobs observes in her Introduction, "If the reader is American, he may also find himself on a tour of his own psyche."

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book describes a group tour of "Europe and the Holy Land" Samuel Clemens experienced and reported about 100 years ago. He describes, in a way that only Mark Twain can, the people he meets and the places they go from the point of view from the American West. One memorable example of his American perspective is a comparison of Italian mountains, lakes and rivers with his beloved Rockies, Tahoe, and Mississippi. He also paints humorous portraits of the tour guides and his fellow travelers. The first time I read this book I was on an organized bus tour in Europe and quickly realized how many of Twain's human observations on how tourists are treated still apply, which makes the humor very accessible.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a long book that combines the best and worst of Mark Twain. Sometimes he's hilariously funny and quite often wise and very quotable but he also strays into long meandering descriptions of places or events - places mostly - that could easily have been condensed considerably. I had to steel myself to read some of those and I must confess to skipping a couple of them. The other issue is that much of the prose relating to the people of various countries through which he travelled is, well, let's just say if it were written today the author would be accused of gross bigotry and racism. You have to try to imagine yourself living in the time of the author (late 1800's here) and forgive him for this. I don't suppose there were too many who were more enlightened than Mark Twain in his time.

So whilst there were times I had to force myself to persevere with this book, clearly there were enough wonderful moments to make up for the rest because I did persevere and, on the whole, enjoyed it.
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By A Customer on 24 Jun. 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Twain when he doesn't have to worry about a bloomin' story line or consistant dialogue. He simply writes what comes to mind, and manages to debunk every so-called monument of western civ.(Just why do they call this the holy land?!) He reminds us we don't have to be a cultured snob to be a superior person. Read this before you go to Europe or after your trip. Or whenever.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have known of this book for a very long time but didn`t get around to reading it when I was younger although I read most of his other books then. Now that I have got round to it I am finding it a little disappointing. Some of Mark Twain`s views on differences between European and American life and attitudes are interesting if, at times surprising. He finds the French, for example, much more polite and friendly than the average American. I think today`s travellers would not agree with that at all since friendliness and politeness are amongst the most striking features of modern America. He does also have a tendency to damn entire nationalities in a way that would not be acceptable nowadays. His view of the Portuguese is entirely negative which someone familiar with the modern country would again find surprising. Some of his lines like `foreigners spell better than they pronounce` are quite good, but in general the humour seems a little laboured. I imagine fashions in humour change just as other fashions do. His wry observations about the number of holy relics in Genoa are quite good. Perhaps the comparison is not quite fair but for me he doesn`t match a modern American travel writer, Bill Bryson, either for humour or observation. He`s not in the same league for either as P.J. O`Rourke. Paul Theroux, in a more serious vein, is also a more absorbing read. The whole art of travel writing has, of course, moved on since we can now travel so easily and know places so well. I`d certainly recommend reading any of the above, or, possibly even better, H.V. Morton, before this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever wondered why Mark Twain is a pivotal author of American Literature, this book is for you. In this, his first book, Mark Twain is at his best. In 1867, he records a five month cruise through Europe, The Middle East, The Holy Land, and Northern Africa. His rich descriptions vividly chronicle his journey - that in many ways would echo what a traveller may see, think and feel even today. His caustic criticisms are full of self deprecating humour and 'tongue in check' wit. All the way through the 500 page book, you will laugh aloud. Reading along as he undertakes his journey is surprisingly fascinating. It is very interesting to 'hear' the thoughts and perceptions of an American, a Christian, a 19th Century man ... of Mark Twain himself. Delightful!
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Format: Paperback
Until reading this book I had little, even no perception of the way of life in mainland Europe in the 19th century. Yet after reading Twain's 'The Innocents Abroad' I couldn't help but feel refreshed and energised. My first thought when I got to the last page was that I had to visit the amazing places that he did 150 years ago.
I could never get bored of his sarcastic yet so true statements about the people and places he saw. I particularly enjoyed his synomonous accounts of busy and boisterous Napoli (Naples, Italy) and he really brought all the senses of what the city was like to me through the pages.
Despite being written so long ago it is suprising to see how little the world has changed apart from mass technological discovery. If all travel writers were as honest and 'frank' as Twain then I would be sure that we would all have a better judgement and sense of how the world around us really works.
A historical and cultural masterpieve written by one of America's most treasured and prized authors.
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