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Confederate Bushwhacker: Mark Twain in the…
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Confederate Bushwhacker: Mark Twain in the Shadow of the Civil War

by Jerome Loving

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What a mess.  Recursive and repetitive, not a narrative, no development.  TG it's short.  Some tidbits, at least for me, as I don't believe I've read a Twain bio before.  My only book dart is Heminway's comment on Huck Finn: If you read it you must stop where the nigger Jim is stolen from the boys.  That is the real end.  The rest is just cheating."  Well, I see his point, and almost agree with it, but Tom's juvenile and romantic sense of adventure is a theme Twain had cause to represent to his readers, relevant to the times & larger American culture.  Anyway, that's about all I got out of the book, and I did struggle to find more.  (If you don't believe me, note that the blurbs are by other Twain scholars, writers... not professional reviewers.  Ok, yes, 'critic' can be used as a pejorative, but authors scratching each other's backs is worse....)" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book, on the surface, looks like a much better book than it really is. While it was a good micro biography it was repetitive. If the book had been properly edited, it would have been an article instead of a whole book. He mentions, quotes or rephrases the same story in (what seems like) every chapter in the book. While the story, "The Private History of a Compaign That Failed" is a great addition to all the Civil War, you can only read the same story so many times before becoming bored. While I will loan this book out, I cannot recommend it ( )
  dulegstmiramherzen | Feb 21, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was a hard read for me as it wasn't what I expected - a rather dry and academic mini-biography of Mark Twain in the year 1885 - written by an English professor from Texas A&M.

Much of the story covers Twain's ambivalence towards both slavery and the Civil War. He initially volunteered for a Confederate militia in the border state of Missouri, but deserted shortly after the first real war fight. Later he married the daughter of a prominent abolitionist and made his home in New Haven, Connecticut and came to admire Ulysses S. Grant, ultimately publishing the general's memoirs.

The book also uses contemporary sources to describe the turbulent political and racial atmosphere of the times, juxtapositioning actual events with the publishing of Huckleberry Finn

This book is for the lit crit reader only. ( )
  etxgardener | Feb 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Since Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors I appreciated receiving a copy through Library Thing and was prepared for several hours of reading enjoyment. The title, “Confederate Bushwhacker” is intriguing and the cover with caricatures of Samuel Clemens and Ulysses Grant suggests a light-hearted romp with America’s greatest humorist. I had expected a biography, but the reality is quite different—a “micro-biography” according to the front flap. The book focuses primarily on events in 1885 when Mr. Clemens’ company published Grant’s memoirs and his own “Huckleberry Finn.” The prelude of the book and the source of its title was Clemens’ two-week stint as a lieutenant in a Missouri brigade at the start of the Civil War. That much of the book was vintage Mark Twain since it was a direct quote from a talk he gave at a dinner in Boston.
According to the book’s jacket Jerome Loving is a distinguished professor of English at Texas A&M University. Accordingly, it appears, he has written this book as a scholarly tome. Except for the Mark Twain quotations the language is dense and doesn’t make for easy reading. Judging by the testimonials on the back cover, this book is an important work: a "true masterstroke" and "a joy to read." I found it tedious, difficult to read, and far different than I had expected. I slogged through one third of it before deciding that I had more interesting things to do with my time. ( )
  jhgreen | Jan 27, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Loving-ly written by a man with an obvious grasp of the enigmatic Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), “Confederate Bushwhacker” dramatically chronicles the great American author's personal crises with his short-lived alliance with the Confederate Army and his life-long association with slavery. “Confederate Bushwhacker” is a detailed read that will be of special interest to those concerned with the more detailed ideas of a very conflicted human being. ( )
  Ron_Gilbert | Jan 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 161168465X, Hardcover)

Confederate Bushwhacker is a microbiography set in the most important and pivotal year in the life of its subject. In 1885, Mark Twain was at the peak of his career as an author and a businessman, as his own publishing firm brought out not only the U.S. edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but also the triumphantly successful Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant. Twenty years after the end of the Civil War, Twain finally tells the story of his past as a deserter from the losing side, while simultaneously befriending and publishing the general from the winning side. Coincidentally, the year also marks the beginning of Twain's descent into misfortune, his transformation from a humorist into a pessimist and determinist. Interwoven throughout this portrait are the headlines and crises of 1885--black lynchings, Indian uprisings, anti-Chinese violence, labor unrest, and the death of Grant. The year was at once Twain's annus mirabilis and the year of his undoing. The meticulous treatment of this single year by the esteemed biographer Jerome Loving enables him to look backward and forward to capture both Twain and the country at large in a time of crisis and transformation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:59 -0400)

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