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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Mark Twain’s complete, uncensored Autobiography was an instant bestseller when the first volume was published in 2010, on the centennial of the author’s death, as he requested. Published to rave reviews, the Autobiography was hailed as the capstone of Twain’s career. It captures his authentic and unsuppressed voice, speaking clearly from the grave and brimming with humor,...more
Hardcover, 776 pages
Published October 5th 2013 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 1924)
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In publishing his memoirs one hundred years after his death, Mark Twain has shown himself to be an excellent judge of his place in history as well as a savvy salesman. With the surprise success of his first volume of memoirs in 2010, Twain can now be rightfully said to be a best-seller in the 19th and 21st centuries.

Like the last volume, Twain refuses to adhere to the usual order of memoirs, starting with birth and ending with death. Instead, he follows the strict rule of 'whatever I feel like t...more
And so THE publishing event of the century continues... When volume one came out in 2010, 100 years after Twain's death there was something of a media storm and the book topped the best-seller lists around the world, however the book seemed to bemuse more people than it delighted, I don't believe this volume has sold nearly as well, it ain't a conventional autobiography, then again Twain wasn't a conventional man. Put it simply if you didn't like volume one, if you found it too disjointed and ra...more
Where to even begin - how dare I review a Titan of literature? With this second volume, I am reminded of how important Twain is: he innovated the written word at a key time in world history, let alone American development. His wit shines through even brighter in this one, less careful, more bite. And some of it is absolutely timeless "The political & commercial morals of the US aren't merely food for laughter, they're a banquet" 30 Jan 1907

This is one to keep and flip backwards and forwards....more
John Harder
It would be wrong to say that Volume 2 is a continuation of Volume 1, as Twain’s autobiography is not chronological. Twain decided to dictate his autobiography, and if his fancy took in to a non-chronological tangent he did not hesitate. This also helps the book to read like fiction – just another interesting story from a master.

I am entirely biased in this review since Twain is one of my favorite dead people. Even among living people, Twain’s corpse might pose stiff (pun intended) competition a...more
Theo Logos
This is the second of three volumes to be published of the Complete and Authoritative Edition of Mark Twain's massive biography, and like the first, it is worth the commitment. Mark Twain designed a unique technique for his biography; he abandoned chronological order, and simply told stories from his life and work as they popped into his head, in no particular order. He dictated much of it, often with his biographer present as audience. As such, this biography is very much like sitting down with...more
Jason Riemens
It is a little more than slightly unbelievable that this autobiography was released a 100 years after Mark Twain's death - for more than one reason and for very different reasons. First, the idea that it was hidden from most for so long seems quite impossible, but that of course is the allure - and what an allure it is.

Secondly, and most shocking, is the content of the book and the author's thoughts are so relevant today. Twain notes at one point that one's temperament (or nature) is unchangeab...more
Love Twain - the folksy humor and witty quips, the loving devotion to his wife and three daughters that shines through in every description of their activities, the barbs directed at publishers, authors, critics, etc. Not being a Twain scholar, I was surprised by some things I didn't know about, including his loathing later in life of Bret Harte for his personal failings (Harte's relationship or lack thereof with his family being the polar opposite of Twain's). Definitely complete and authoritat...more
Things I found interesting are that this book is dictated. Twain says he didn't 'write' this book. It reads like a journal, that's for sure. Twain was a speaker, as much as a writer, in his time. It was out of necessity, though, as publishers wrote contracts that gave them the money for his writing, more than probably was warranted. I suppose publishers provide the costly stuff of books: paper, ink machines to print, advertising, however it was interesting to learn that of Twain's most recognize...more
Randy Auxier
(This review appeared in the Carbondale Nightlife, September 18-24, 2014, p. 18.)

Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain, vols.1 & 2, eds Harriet Elinor Smith, et al (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010, 2013), 736 and 733 pp. Hardcover, $45.00 each.

Mark Twain set down his pen for good in 1905, but his autobiography was composed mainly afterwards. From the fall of 1906 through the end of 1907 he dictated almost daily to an able stenographer and in the presence of his official biog...more
This book is the second volume of the authoritative edition of the autobiography of Mark Twain. I read the first volume two and a half years ago. This volume follows in the same path of the first volume and is full of various stories, humor, social satire, and commentary. There is much enjoyable here and the book is most interesting as a commentary on American and world affairs in the decade before WWI. This volume has the limitations of the first volume. It is a collection of episodes and comme...more
Having read volume 1, I found this equally or more interesting. This is different than reading a normal autobiography because it is quite fragmented with a lot of repetition going along with the footnotes. We find that Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemens, decided that he preferred dressing all in white, despite the season of the year. That is the way that we picture him. He certainly did a lot of traveling, and lived a number of different places. There was tragedy in his family life, too
Six Months. That's how long it took me to read my way through both Volume I and II. I had to take a break from it a couple of times to read a few other books. But this was my fall-to book. It's a continuation of the first one - with just as much fact checking references as the first. I'm a fan of biographies and as such I was up to the challenge. But now I can point proudly to the shelf and say "I read those."
Robert J.
The raw nature of Mark Twain's dictation really comes through in this second volume, more so I think than in the first volume. It's like reading an audio scrapbook from the guy down the street who happens to be a comedy superstar, you never know what you'll find on the next page. Some really great rants too, usually introduced by "This must not be published until I'm dead 100 years." Which is as good a metric as any. Will Goodreads be around in 100 years? Mark Twain will be. Anybody who needs to...more
Twain's original autobiography, published in 1924 after his death (not the hundred year version published recently). Twain dictated this from his bed; it's a non-chronological mish-mash of funny anecdotes, historical events, philosophy, family reminiscences, etc., all done in Twain's inimitable style. Self-centered, of course, but gracious and readable. Most interesting to me was the recounting of Twain's foolproof method for how the unemployed can always find work. Amazing that this hasn't cau...more
Mar 24, 2014 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mark Twain fans, History buffs
Shelves: biography, history, humor
This book is every bit as lovely as the first one. You can see why he wanted it held until after everyone at the time would be long gone. He comes out with real opinions which would not have been popular at the time, nor jibed with his public persona, carefully honed and sculpted over the years and providing a good deal of his income via public speaking. That he lived his live with appreciation and humor is evident in every page. History buffs will relish his very human takes on some historical...more
Don Weidinger
TR everything to be and not, Charles Webster assfull and debt, gorgeous forgiving, as a mirror, generosity spirit, Helen Keller met at 14 kindness without jealousy, power passing to national government, bring a fact to breakfast, turn republic to monarchy liberties auctioned off slowly sole purpose being purchase of votes physical courage common and moral courage rare and cowardly nature of man to not say disagreeable thing vote buying in pension undermines manhood moral disintegration 1906-07 c...more
I liked some of the bits.....but since I have watched Jason Robards impersonate Twain in person and on dvd/video....I know I would have enjoyed this more acted out. I did try the audio, but the narrator simply read his script. Twain's words really need a good interpretation.
Stephen Richter
If you are not a fan of Mark Twain, this collection will turn you into one. If you have a general interest of turn of the 20th century events, this book will delight & enlighten you. This is the second book released by Mark Twain foundation and its research helped understand the era in which it was written. Some of Twain's observations ring true even in our time span.
I found myself imagining I was listening to Mark Twain's voice on this recording. Grover Gardner seemed to provide just the inflections I would have expected from Twain himself! Twain's wit comes through and it was enjoyable and entertaining to listen his life's stories on my way to work.
Whew, took me a while to get through and for the most part, enjoyed. As with any of Twain's big works, there's always some dry parts that I have to just skip because they are just not interesting like they might have been 110 years ago. But for any fan of the man or even fan of history, it's a great read and the moments that shine, do so brightly. Learned some interesting facts about history and if you're going to learn history through personal accounts, no better man to tell the story than Twai...more
Andy Shuping
ARC provided by NetGalley

Mark Twain has long been one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled when the first volume of the Mark Twain's autobiography was released three years ago and I couldn't wait to read the second volume and I wasn't disappointed at all. I love being able to hear Mark Twain's own thoughts on the world around him and his insights into the world, many of which still seem useful today. Although this is an extremely long book, 776 pages, it's well worth a read or listen to on...more
Engaging, provocative and enlightening. It's like Sam Clemens is there with You, sharing his life's stories. No holds barred. I was so sad when it ended. I just wanted more and more.
I have heard the complaint that the autobiography is repetitive and acknowledge it is the case. Caused, I assume, by the decision Twain made to do a sort of stream of consciousness style version.
Reading the same anecdote by Twain 5 or six times is still better than a fresh anecdote by most folks.
Love him and the book
Brian Bailey
Like the previous volume, a mosaic of different recollections by Mr. Clemens some familiar others new. Awaiting the next volume.
Terry Dullum
Ready for volume 3.
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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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“The shades of difference between other people and me serve to make variety and prevent monotony, but that is all; broadly speaking, we are all alike; and so by studying myself carefully and comparing myself with other people, and noting the divergences, I have been enabled to acquire a knowledge of the human race which I perceive is more accurate and more comprehensive than that which has been acquired and revealed by any other member of our species. As a result, my private and concealed opinion of myself is not of a complimentary sort. It follows that my estimate of the human race is the duplicate of my estimate of myself.” 3 likes
“Such incidents usually move me to try to find relief in the building of a maxim. It is a good way, because if you have luck you can get the venom out of yourself and into the maxim; then comfort and a healed spirit follow. Maxims are not easy to make; they do not come in right shape at the first call; they are creatures of evolution, of development; you have to try several plans before you get one that suits you, or even comes fairly near to suiting you.” 2 likes
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