Top positive review
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The undisturbed soul of Mark Twain
on 23 December 1998
This book is better than the equivelent of sending Walter Kronkite to the Wild West to investigate it's doings. Mark Twain, ever the great poet/humorist, embarks into the real world of the West with as much excitement and curiosity as you or I would have via an Overland Stagecoach. While he is at this occupation, he develops a dozen more, including propecting and newpaper reporting, being destitute, and being fabulously rich. Everywhere his gaze is turned is carefully recorded and sent 'back-home' to you and I as though it were a personal letter through the post! His humor and insight is actually the finest of his entire career; the personal feeling, yearning, passion, and pathos of his descriptions are more poetic than the bards of all time. On his journey from Springfield, Missouri, to find out what life will become--and with WHAT, and IN what--he accompanies his brother Orion, just appointed secretary to the Governor of the Nevada territories by President Lincoln, to conveniently become the secretary's secretary. An occupation, predictably short-lived. Upon arrival young Sam Clemens, a recent riverboat pilot turned Confederate Soldier gone AWOL is as set free as a snake from a cardboard box. No one on earth could have taken advantage of the wild possibilities that beckoned from the new frontier better than Sam Clemens. Sam was as a man gone there intentionally in a time machine and was exultant to begin his plans---and coming-up with them on his arrival. He wrote home that he would never return to Missouri until he had become a rich man, and THAT from the silver mines that peppered the entire mountain ranges of Nevada of that day. One has the incredible opportunity to view through Mark Twain's eyes the true West and at the same time view Mark Twain and what influence it was having upon HIM. At just the saving moment of the demise of his grandiose plans he becomes a newspaper correspondent from Hawaii, and, without ever having the knowledge himself, explores from one American frontier to the next. While in Hawaii he wrote in unparalelled prose the majesty he witnessed there. He tells of the history and collects the information that would later become the substance of his first lecture tour, and what would become the most celbrated literary career in the 19th century, and to some: of all time. This is Mark Twain's finest book.