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Mark Twain: A Life

Powers, Ron

1,295 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0743248996 / ISBN 13: 9780743248990
Published by Free Press September 13, 2005, New York, 2005
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Monroe Street Books (Middlebury, VT, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

722 pages. INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR on title page. B&w photos. Light edgewear and rubbing to dust jacket, else a clean, tight copy. Record # 457922. Bookseller Inventory # 457922

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mark Twain: A Life

Publisher: Free Press September 13, 2005, New York

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

A Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning author of Flags of Our Fathers presents a narrative portrait of Samuel Clemens's life behind his literary persona, in a depiction based on tens of thousands of letters and journal entries that covers his experiences on the Mississippi during the golden age of steamboats, "wild west" Nevada newspaper career, and relationships with such figures as Ulysses S. Grant. 100,000 first printing.

Review:

Mark Twain grew up with America. Born in 1835, he reached adulthood as the country was expanding and threatening to splinter all at once. Along with his towering talent and personality, his timing and instinct for finding the action allowed him to play a major role in pushing the boundaries of American culture and mythology by creating a new approach to literature. "Breaching the ranks of New England literary culture was Clemens's most important achievement (short of his actual works), and a signal liberating event in the country's imaginative history," writes Ron Powers in this dazzling biography. Not only did he observe and chronicle this cultural shift, he participated in it, allowing him to report "from the yeasty perspective of the common man." While still Sam Clemens, he worked as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River and experienced the Wild West of the Nevada Territory as a miner, land prospector, and newspaperman. Later, while still the people's champion, he married into wealth and ran with the moneyed class of the Gilded Age--until his money ran out--and toured the world meeting with the famous and powerful at every stop. He was, as Powers puts it, "the nation's first rock star." But Twain was more than just a writer and Powers strives to cover all sides of this complex man. Employing an approach he calls "interpretive portraiture," he explores Twain's personal relations, temperament, religious skepticism, and psychology as closely as his written work. He discusses Twain's zeal for life along with his "chronic insecurity," and describes how this eternally optimistic and forward-looking man was prone to spells of nihilism and despair. Powers is a talented and lively writer clearly up to the task of covering this American legend, and his book vividly and thoroughly explains why Twain was "the representative figure of his nation and his century." --Shawn Carkonen

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Monroe Street Books. Owners: Richard and Flanzy Chodkowski. Mailing address: Monroe Street Books, 70 Monroe Street, Middlebury, Vermont 05753 USA. Store Located at: 1485 Route 7 North, Middlebury, Vermont 05753 USA. Phone: 1-802-398-2200 Email: books@monroestreetbooks.com
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