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Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  756 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Great writer's 1897 account of circumnavigating the globe by steamship. Brimming with ironic, tongue-in-cheek humor, the book describes shark fishing in Australia, riding the rails in India, tiger hunting, diamond mining in South Africa, much more; also peoples, climate, flora and fauna, customs, religion, politics, food, etc. 197 illustrations.
Paperback, 712 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Dover Publications (first published 1897)
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Jul 08, 2007 Frederick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Mark Twain, and those who study Imperialism
Shelves: humor, travelogues, twain
If anybody tells you Mark Twain wasn't a liberal, find this book, put it in your posession and read every other chapter outloud to that person. Written rather late in his life (1891 or so), this is Twain's nonfiction account of a trip on a passenger ship around the equator. He writes a chapter describing a comic incident aboard ship and then the next chapter is a sober indictment of man's inhumanity to man. The chapters on Australia are most telling. He sees the Australia's treatment of Aborigin ...more
John Otto
I feel sorry for folks whose exposure to Mark Twain is limited to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Although those are good books, I really love his travel writing. Following the Equator is not a book you would want to read to find out the best route to take, the best places to eat and sleep or what to see. But, it is a book to read if you enjoy sardonic humor, with Twain's wry comments about what he sees. One surprising thing to me, given Twain's causal use of racial slurs is his outrage at how ...more
I can hardly imagine anything better than traveling the globe with Mark Twain. His wit and keen powers of observation were abundantly apparent. Sadly, so was his prejudice; although, one must remember that this was written in an entirely different time, and that, thankfully most people have become more evolved and educated since then. One also has to remember that, as Twain reminds us himself in the book, he was brought up during slavery, to accept slavery and denigration of those of different e ...more
As usual, a highly entertaining account of Twain travels. This time he travels through the Pacific - Australia, New Zealand, India, Africa mainly - with stops at various islands and smaller countries. The chapters on India were disturbing, detailing murder and suicide in the late 19th century there. My India history is somewhat vague. I had a general idea but the specifics were hard to take. Also hard to take were all of the chapters dealing with the white man's subjugation of black natives - Au ...more
I had the impression that Twain was acerbic. Instead, I found him curious, respectful but no fraidy-cat either. His criticisms are wrapped in such wry humour, I think it would be difficult for his worst enemy not to laugh - at himself. My opinion of him shot skyward after reading this book. There is so much chatty information and wit in FTE that I am at a loss where to begin. Okay - loved the bit about the passengers watching dolphins covered with bioluminescence racing and diving through the da ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Tony rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: travel
Twain, Mark. FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR. (1897). *****. Here’s the Twain I know and love. Maybe because he is truly seeing some things for the first time, he is capable of being more inventive. His voyage this time follows the path of various British colonies or possessions including Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. Of course there are other stops along the way. Twain was not a patient traveler. Delays were aimed at him personally, as were bad meals and accomodations. All of these thin ...more
For my first book on my brand new nook color, I thought I would start with one of the books that I have always wanted to read, but could never find a copy. Reading it would be a new experience.

I enjoyed this book. I have always enjoyed Twain's nonfiction-- or whatever you want to call it-- immensely. This one stood up to the earlier ones that I've read until about three-quarters the way through where it moves into an essay about South African politics much like his essay on the Congo and King L
David Murphy
Lonely Planet has nothing on Mark Twain! Twain sets sail from Victoria, BC and stops by Hawai'i en route to Australia and New Zealand. I wish I had read this before going to Tasmania last summer. It's funny and wickedly subversive and still quite informative.
Feb 22, 2008 Dad rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
The guy was a genius- read it. And what a sense of humor!
Clivemichael Justice
Long and drawn out adventure as he circles the globe to read his works and lecture. His observations in India stood out for me, but he tends to go off on tangents that frequently have nothing to do with his , in that moment, location. His political, racial and gender perspectives during that time though were an interesting window on the world.
Some quotations: "December 17 Reached Sydney(Australia)December 19. In the train. Fellow of 30...with teeth which made his mouth look like a neglected chu
Ok this is supposed to be non-fiction. Trouble is significant parts of it are totally false. Some of that is because it was written more than a century ago. But part of it is just made up by Twain to tell a good story. I found myself constantly checking Wikipedia while reading to see what was just an example of Twain's imagination. Did Twain really want us to believe he was a liberal or is he just pulling our leg there too?
This book is a non fiction account of Twain's journey around the world around the turn of the 20th century. He couples stories about his journey and the various destinations he visits with essays relating to his personal beliefs on a variety of issues relating to those experiences. It is interesting, from a travel nerd's perspective, to appreciate how very much was involved in long distance and trans-oceanic travel in these days, and also to get a feel for how much of a liberal Twain was. Unfort ...more
Doug Moore
Long winded. It was so full of little stories, which were nice, but often I had a hard time accepting them as true accounts. There is more humor to be enjoyed in the last five to ten chapters. There are some heart string pulling passages, but nothing that shook my foundation, so to speak.

Just one goofballs take on writing from one of America's greatest authors.
John Harder
As I recall from watching videos during the Walk For Mankind campaigns that Indian (from India, not our locally grown crop) children apply sugar around their eyes to attract flies and look more pitiful. 100 year ago when Twain visited, it must have been even worse, with flies being more plentiful and not nearly as educated as our modern flies. Why he would want to go to such a place, I don’t know. But off he went and I am glad he did.

If the corpse is still relatively fresh, Twain could make a de
Deon Stonehouse
Anything by Mark Twain is worth reading just for the joy of his writing. Twain was an ardent traveler, in 1897 he set out to circle the world. Hawaii, India, Africa, Australia and New Zealand are wild, beautiful places when Twain visits. It is an era when the sun does not set on The British Empire. His trip is not so long past the Indian Uprising of 1857, when the country ran red with blood. Memsahibs are a nervous lot. He is not impressed with the effects the missionaries are having on local cu ...more
Robert Kradoska
excellent true story of Mark twain's global travels when India was still in British control and other parts of the world were so different than now
Braden Bernards
Despite the bulk, a must-bring on any travels westwards of the US. Witty, piercing--less accessible, but better, than his fiction work
Adam Geisler
Twain constructed this travelogue over the course of several trips to different locales, most of which have some connection to the British empire. That turns out to be part of the problem with this collection. While he seemed to champion reason in his home country, he got caught up in a rather colonialist attitude in his foreign journeys. There are, of course, flashes of his brilliant writing throughout. However, this volume could have used the hand of a gifted editor. Chapters are often disjoin ...more
Twain is a delightful companion. This rambling remembrance of his round-the-world lecture tour with his wife & daughter charms & engrosses with the same warm, empathetic, critical, chuckling mind that informs his fiction.

There is only one trait that is hard to take. Twain was an unmitigated apologist for Western imperialism. He displays not the slightest understanding of why the "natives" might fail to appreciate the gifts of order & "civilization" bestowed by their conquerors.

I ca
In his later years Mark Twain was bankrupt, and in order to pay off his debts he undertook a world lecture tour. This book provides us with a picture of travel and life in the late 19th Century, as Twain and his family traveled by ship to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, India and beyond. His descriptions of day-to-day life and the sights are wonderful as well as thought provoking. Twain never just observed a place; he dug into the history and took pains to describe the human foibles in each cult ...more
Rachel G.
After reading The Innocents Abroad, I really wanted to read more of Twain's travels. Unfortunately, this book was less about travel than Twain piecing together random anecdotes and recopying texts that had to do with the places he traveled to. He went to so many amazing places, but there just wasn't as much detail as the Innocents Abroad. I think my favorite part were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, many of which were totally brilliant. Anyway, a very slow read with only a few very ...more
while i love(ed) mark twain for many years. and "innocents abroad" or "roughing it" are a classics, this "following the equator" is a dud for the most part. he was giving "lectures" (stand-up) around the whole earth in 1897-88, and this vol. 2 covers Ceylon, India, Mauritius, and south Africa. i think he was just too busy and too wasted from work to write a good book. some little sparks of brilliance, but not much. fast read though.
Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and India are all wonderfully described, as well as the platypus! The parts about "recruiting" (slave-catching) are especially powerful! Twain is clearly anti-slavery, anti-politician, and pro woman's suffrage! And his points about education toward the end seem right on for today as well as when he wrote! I wasn't crazy about the chapters on South Africa, but this is one heck of a book!
I've heard this was pumped out for profit, and I think you may be able to tell at times he was rushing/padding things. However, his description of Australia was particularly compelling, I've never been there but something tells me some of the discussion of the outback hasn't changed in the hundred years since this was written.

A fine read if you are travelling or looking for something light to have a laugh with.
Denise Corbitt
I mark every summer with a reading of this book. If all you've ever read by Mark Twain is Huckleberry Finn, then you're in for a treat. His commentary on social issues in the later 19th century are a poignant today as ever. What a keen observer of life. His wry sense of humor and wit shine through as always.
Just the first inscription is as profound as the book: "Live good and you will be lonesome."
I slogged through this. Picked it up because of a Jimmy Buffett song introduction.

I didn't really like it. Partly it over a century old; things aren't this way any more. There is humor in it. But it comes and goes; didn't grab and hold me as Twain described details of travel in truly a different age.
Terry Cornell
Mark Twain's writings as he circumnavigates the world. Part travelogue, part diary, part story telling. Amusing read, and revealing that some things--in particular politics never change.
Skip Scott
I read this book in 2011 and only wish I had found it sooner. This Mark Twain is a far cry from the Huckleberry Finn and provides so much more insight into the brillance that Mark Twain provides. A great read for anyone and a must read for any Mark Twain fan.
Somewhat uneven. Not as good as Innocents Abroad or Roughing It, but first class in stretches. Overall, pretty good.

I did not care for the first section aboard ship.

Some of my favorite parts were the historical digressions, especially the Indian revolt.
Jul 28, 2012 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: e-book
Twain's year long tour of the British Colonies, including Australia, India and South Africa. Funny, as expected, informative, with some interesting fictional episodes and an his observations on colonialism, racism and religions.
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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 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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“There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.” 467 likes
“In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.” 299 likes
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