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Mark Twain: America's Humorist,…

Mark Twain: America's Humorist, Dreamer, Prophet (Scholastic…

by Clinton Cox

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Clinton Cox may be an award-winning author of Children's literature, and his scholarship in writing is not to be ignored, yet he reminds me of the historians of the past, who began writing to prove a point, not to record the story for the future. Mark Twain, originally Samuel L. Clemens, was a complex and incredibly brilliant man, who wrote both for the public's enjoyment, and for their benefit. However, this author focuses on the anger that fed the writing, an anger at the general stupidity and arrogance of the average man. The book chronicles the major chapters of his life, from growing up in Missouri to his adventures on the Mississippi and travelling around the world. The book spends a majority of its time seeking the origin of the more controvertial of his writings and recording the progression from gadfly to satirist to novelist. All the while, the author traces some of the dark undercurrents which affected Twain's mind, especially later in life. There is a hint of modern popular psychology being thrown out in the text: though never giving a name to the mental issues Twain faced, it is heavily implied that Twain suffered from some form of depression, perhaps bipolar disorder or something like it. I find it most telling that, although much of his research is good, and the quantity is extensive, he chose not to include Twain's own autobiography as one of his sources. Twain gets painted as an unwitting champion of the rights of black people, when primarily Twain was upset more by the foolishness of a life led in ignorance of the world outside the small town, a realization that came only gradually. ( )
  gemerritt | Apr 27, 2015 |
Mark Twain: America’s Humorist, Dreamer, Prophet is a terrible book. This boring book was one of the most boring books I have ever read. The whole book was fact after fact after fact on Mark’s life. The book didn’t allow me to have any emotional connections to his story or even Mark himself. There were many times in this book that I would find myself daydreaming while I was supposed to be reading and I then had to reread.
I recommend this book to no one who wants to read for enjoyment but, only to someone who wants to research him. This book bored me to tears many times. I felt no connection to any person in the book making it very unenjoyable. I rate this book 1.5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  br14lavi | Oct 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0590456415, Paperback)

Riverboat pilot, newspaper reporter, adventurer, satirist, and writer, Mark Twain was and is a towering figure in American literature. This definitive biography offers a fresh viewpoint on his colorful and controversial life, and includes archival photographs and extensive quotes from Twain's books.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:58 -0400)

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