A Tramp Abroad
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A Tramp Abroad

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,056 ratings  ·  129 reviews
An American in Heidelberg. His tour through Germany in 1878
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1880)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Funny, but not hilarious. Mostly tongue-in-cheek hyperboles, Mark Twain recounts here his 15-month walking trip through Central Europe and the Alps in 1878-1879. I have only one kind of test for humorous, or supposedly humorous, books: the sound test. Five stars if it made me laugh out loud; four stars if it made me chuckle; three stars if it made me smile; two stars if it just made light up inside; a star if I found it funny without any change in me, or if it wasn't funny at all.

In his Introduc...more
Lorenzo
I bought this book by mistake in one of those charity shops that make any idle and rainy Saturday in Oxford a treasure hunt.
What I thought I had found was actually "Innocents Abroad" by the same Mark Twain, but somehow the word "tramp" was left out of my raptorous glance.

Well, "A Tramp Abroad" revolves around pretty much the same topic of "Innocents Abroad" which is Mr Twain touring Europe proud of being an American but at the same time eager to get all that the Old Continent has to offer to h...more
Rob
First, I'm glad I've already read The Innocents Abroad, or else at some point I'd have little to no idea what Twain is talking about when he refers to incidents on that trip, which happens occasionally. This seems a slightly more 'serious' book than that, too, which shows me some of the changes (not to mention growth) in Twain himself, which adds interest.

Beyond that, there's no easy way to categorize this book: humorous travelogue, social critique of both Europe and the U.S. (in which neither h...more
Ryan Milbrath
When I think of Mark Twain I think of my sophomore year English class in High School. We read Huckleberry Finn. In eighth grade I remember reading Tom Sawyer. In both cases I remember the teacher engaging us in lengthy discussions of youth, naiveté, racism, American culture during the 1800’s, and Samuel Clemens own tramp-like background. Ever since those “teachable moments” in literature I wanted to meet this Mr. Twain. He seemed like my kind of person: witty, tongue-in-cheek, mischievous, ideal...more
Eric
Mark Twain is considered one of the great American writers of the 19th century, yah yah, you’ve heard it all before. While most people know him from the tales of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Twain also wrote non-fiction. In “A Tramp Abroad”, Twain writes about his experience travelling through Europe in the 1880s. It’s actually his second trip, the first trip he wrote about in “Innocents Abroad”.

Then an innocent, now a tramp. Nice.

It didn’t take me long to make up my mind, Twain is dope. His...more
Jesse
Mar 29, 2007 Jesse rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Travellers
This is by far my favorite of Twain's works. When you go to Europe you need this book. "Paris and Venice are the two greatest lies ever told." Brilliant. Cause they are. When you read this you must realize that Twain is a sarcastic American debunking all the European myth and glory. Most of what you know about Europe has been sold as a marketing campaign. Twain realizes that reality lays not in a travel brochure but in the real travel and observation of that place. Excellent.
Connie
I'm only on page 20 but blown away by similarities in Twain's observations of the beer-drinking hijinks of university students in His day in Heidleberg and my own observations of modern day university students and their quest of the same sorts of drunken prowess.
Erin
Twain is indeed a funny man- something I never fully believed until reading this work!
Sarah-Lambert Cook
I love to see a new place by walking in it. It's one of the best ways to experience the unfamiliar since it gives you time to explore and absorb the scenery. Maybe that's why I found it fascinating to read one of Mark Twain's lesser known works about his walking travels in Europe around the alps while I'm here in Germany. Twain's descriptions of university life in Heidelberg aren't so different from the way things are now even if they are a little more the 19th c variation.

What I really love is...more
Caitlin
This is an enjoyable read but scattered in its organization. Mark Twain is proud of his own wit and sprinkles it all over his descriptions of European culture and landscapes. This book was particularly meaningful for me because I am living in Germany and have had similar experiences as he did well over one-hundred years ago. For example, his descriptions of Heidelberg and its castle ruin are just like my experiences there: the rolling, forested hills above the Necker river; the castle on the hil...more
Allison
In terms of Twain travelogue, I would say this is ultimately the weakest of the lot – although, bless, that still leaves a lot to enjoy. A Tramp Abroad starts out strong in Germany and builds thrills in Switzerland before sputtering to over-lingering in the Alps and plummeting to an abrupt conclusion in Italy so startling that I had no idea that I was going to be finishing the book until I was halfway through the chapter. You can tell that Twain was tired of traveling and lecturing with this boo...more
Iona
"I heard a Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective."

The best part of this book is Twain's essay on Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache. Despite having spent a large part of last year travelling around the same parts of Germany and Switzerland as he did, I found that his discourse on language was the only part I could really relate to. An earlier Bill Bryson he may be, but with markedly less humour and a d...more
Rita
What I have is the abridged edition [300 pp only] of 1977. In his intro [which I found not terriby well written], Charles Neider gives highly useful context for the book. Twain wrote this book because he had to, he needed the money to support his family. Neider thinks it is better and funnier than Innocents -- in places. But very uneven, and that's why he produced this abridged version. I have never read Innocents, and perhaps need not attempt to...

The chapter making fun of the German language i...more
Nicholas During
Mark Twain's voice does seem the quintessential American voice. I haven't read The Innocents Abroad: or, The New Pilgrims' Progress, so I'm not sure if there is much difference, but I loved this book.

First is the voice, which is a strange, and hilarious, melange of the real Twain (I guess...), his protagonist (a fool), vivid descriptions of the sights, events, and people meet and seen on the way, and opinions that veer between complete humor and ironical common sense. And it is not just the narr...more
Rob
I read this book just after returning from a vacation to Germany and Switzerland; I wrote a travelogue about our experiences, and discovered that Twain had written about many of the same places we'd visited, especially Heidelberg.

A Tramp Abroad highly entertaining, semi-fictional account of an extended vacation in southern Germany, the Alps and Italy. Twain relates his adventures touring central Europe by foot, boat and train, accompanied by his agent (in actuality, the story is drawn from a sab...more
Mark Allen
Mark Twain is my favorite author of all time, having earned a permanent place in my library for his hilarious and blasphemous autobiography. I'm on a mission to read his other works, one by one.

A Tramp Abroad purports to be Twain's semi-fictional account of a "pedestrian" journey or "tramp" around continental Europe in the late 1870s. For a man who writes in the first sentence of the book that he plans to walk around in Europe, he certainly doesn't do much walking! Most every chapter opens with...more
John Harder
I love Twain’s travel books. They are a perfect outlet for me. Reading about exotic and interesting places is much cheaper and easier than actually going there. Unfortunately people do not also write about uninteresting places, so I am compelled to actually visit only citadels of boredom. My tour of the lower Midwest springboarding from Kankakee IL begins August 30th – formal dress or toothbrush not required.

A Tramp Abroad (no not that type of tramp) has Mr. Clemens traveling through Italy, Ger...more
Krissy
I my have made the mistake of reading the Tramp before the Innocence, but I still enjoyed this book. Twain grabs you with is story telling and humor. I found myself shaking my head and sometimes laughing out loud at his stories. Having been to several destinations he describes, I took joy in reading his encounters. I love how they set out to tramp "walk" the tour, but virtually never walk. I will definitely be re-reading this book shortly as I enjoyed it and his ridiculous stories and stretching...more
Tim
This is one book that would have welcomed the efforts of a hard working editor. At times Twain's brilliance and humour come shining through, especially in his fascinating observations of the lives of Germans and the tourists who walk through their midst. But too often he gets sidetracked with less stellar tales that belong in another book: drifting back to the US for "A Tramp at Home", recounting legends and folk tales that feel ripped from another writer's guidebook, and complete fantasies of h...more
Carlie
For me, it's hard NOT to like Mark Twain. Although in my opinion, he spent too many chapters talking about glaciers and mountains in Switzerland. And it took me almost a year to read it (because life, not because boring), so it's hard for me to remember how I felt about it as a whole book.
Boris
I changed my original rating from 2 to 4 stars. This is in a sense a sequel to the very charming and humorous "The Innocents Abroad" but it not strictly a travelogue as the prior book was.

The book is a farrago of humorous anecdotes, Twain's wry observations on his further European adventures and the difference in character between the various Europeans and the Americans and some phantasmagoria.

There are laugh-out-loud moments and having an interest in the history of exploration and adventure, I...more
Alison
A collection of insights and stories from Mark Twain's year in Europe, mostly in German and Switzerland. I thought it appropriate, since many of his adventures take place not far from where I'm living.

Really a collection of short stories, it at times feels awkward as, for whatever reason--the time period and writing style of the day, perhaps--Twain and his publisher try to tie it into a cohesive narrative. That said, many of the shorts are smugly amusing gems.

And even though it was written bef...more
Al Maki
If I had to pick one thing and say it was the most hilarious thing ever written in the English language I would take the chapter "The Awful German Language" from this book. Twain proves able to do with sarcasm what Bach could do with an organ.
Nancy
I listened to this as an audio book starting on a long trip from Boise. It was just right for listening to in the car. It is quite entertaining but not so compelling that you feel you need to sit in the driveway to find out what comes next. It is a series of essays about travel in Europe which are very loosely tied together. Some of them are really funny. Don't miss the appendix where he expounds on the problems with the German language, offering suggestions for improving it.
Jay
By the time he wrote this one, Twain had a formula he didn't mess with. This is the formula he put together in his other travel books, like "Innocents Abroad" and "Roughing It". While it's been a while since I read those others, I really liked them. This one I liked much less. I believe it is because in this book he spends a lot of time and effort on mountains and mountain climbing stories, which I got tired of. Those earlier books mixed it up better. Typical Twain, though, grousing and story-te...more
Tony
Twain, Mark. A TRAMP ABROAD. (1880). ***. I’m a big fan of Mark Twain, but this novel is nothing more than a cobbled together series of sketches that would work better as part of his stage performances. He manages to skewer the German language and its complicated grammar. He records (or makes up out of wholecloth) a series of legends and then goes on to tear them to shreds. He spends a full chapter on the language of blue jays. His trip starts out in the Heidelberg region, then moves on to Switz...more
Amy
I'd actually give this 2.5 stars. It's more of a collection of "episodes" than one cohesive story. And so there were certain chapters that I found interesting and pretty humorous. However, there were many parts of the book that I found unable to relate to, or frandly care about, so it was a challenge to continue to plow ahead and finish the whole book (plus appendices). My sense is that if I hadn't been living in Switzerland for the past 4 years, I would have found it even less engaging than I d...more
John P
Having read this book many years ago, I decided it was time for a re-read since, in the intervening years, I was lucky enough to have spent considerable time in Europe.
Well, this made all the difference, as this book was a joy. Not that it wasn't enjoyable the first time around. It's just that being able to compare one's own impressions with his adds a new dimension. I would have liked to meet Mr. Twain as he had a great sense of humor, right up my alley.
Secondarily, he details some of the mecha...more
nerdynerdiernerdiest
While it's not a page-turned, this book just seems incredibly accurate... Modern Germany is so similar...
Leorah
Forgot to add this book. I am reading it on my Kindle while vacationing in Canada. Had to leave my Cutting on Stone at home.

I downloaded this Twain classic as an appetizer for the new book Twain's Feast that is also waiting on my night table at home.

Twain's prose never disappoints the reader, but I have to admit that this was not my favorite work of his. I found that the overload of scenic descriptions did not keep me engaged in the work.

My favorite parts of the book were his detailed portrayal...more
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work...more
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Prince and the Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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