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The Innocents Abroad

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  6,751 ratings  ·  542 reviews
Fully entitled "The Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrims' Progress," Twain's colorful travelogue is a compilation of the newspaper articles he wrote while on a cruise to Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land with other Americans. His account frequently uses humor to describe the people and places he visits, although this becomes highly satiric at times as Twain becomes frustra ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Digireads.com (first published 1869)
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Nathan Hillyer I would say that anyone COULD be offended by this book. Twain is irreverent about everyone around him as he was traveling - including his fellow…moreI would say that anyone COULD be offended by this book. Twain is irreverent about everyone around him as he was traveling - including his fellow travelers. One might say that he was one of the first package tourists, being judgmental about everything that wasn't like his home. He manages to be self-critical at times, to be fair. He also shows a lot of appreciation in places, and his ironic satire of the world around him is often hilarious. But, his was a generation of disconnected people often suspicious of each other, when letters and newspapers were the only way to communicate, and awareness and understanding were much more difficult. This was before the world faced 2 world wars and a revolution in Russia that would do away with the regime he socialized with briefly on his travels. If one can keep that in mind and be objective, it will be an insight into a different time and is often funny. Reading it with a contemporary philosophical expectation will disappoint though. It can also take quite a while to get through. (less)
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Mike
Aug 24, 2007 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a cynic's eye of the world
When I lived in Madrid years ago I used to buy pistachios from an Iranian refugee in Retiro Park. I don't recall his name, but I decided to call him Stan. It drove him crazy, but I called him Stan anyway. Why did I call him Stan?

One word: Ferguson.

Ferguson is every tour guide that graces the pages of Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad. The author and his cohort call their guides Ferguson, whether in Paris or in Athens. The name drives each Ferguson crazy, but they do it anyway. And regardless of
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Bryce Wilson
God you've got to love Twain.

A funny sacred cow roasting romp through Europe and The Middle East, taking on stereotypes, high society, and decorum with a shotgun blast to the face. However, this is young amused by humanities flaws Mark Twain, not embittered "Fuck the World." Mark Twain. So there's still plenty of room for real wonder and occasional awe.

Plus it has the best reaction to a Mummy you will ever see.
Patrick
This novel is part stand-up comedy and part history lesson. Throughout the novel Twain is hysterically funny, irreverent, lampooning, and blatantly racist--a classic American traveling abroad. This travel log touches upon almost every tourist spot in Europe, North Africa, and the Holy Land. Twain covers many of the most important sites in Europe in a thorough manner. The text would become tedious if not for the wit and clever turning of phrases throughout the work. The humor does have quite an e ...more
Phillip Ozdemir
When you read Twain, you realize he is head and shoulders above other authors, even really good authors. How do you measure the level of his genius? I don't know. Physicists used to rate the genius level of other physicists on a scale of 1- 10, and then along came Dick Feynmann whom everyone agreed was "off-scale". Twain's ability as a writer might just be "off-scale", too. I have seen estimates of Goethe's and Shakespeare's IQs which are at the top end of all humanity's and I'm quite sure Mark ...more
Maggie
This is one of those books which I think time has not been kind to. All of the information was interesting, the little stories were a mixture of merely amusing, hysterically funny, and over-the-top annoying, and then there were the chapters which were absolutely fabulous--so well written and beautiful that I begged for an entire book of that kind of writing.

Part of the problem here is that the world has become so politically correct that all the members of my book club agreed that we cringed at
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Derek
10 percent humorous versus 90 percent tedium. And that may even be a generous assessment.

The humor is actually laugh-out-loud humor - and I rarely LOL while reading - but the tedium... oh, the tedium! It became more and more of a trudge.

I may yet give this another try, as I really do *want* to read more Twain, but not in the foreseeable future.
Thom Swennes
Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad is a travel book. I have no doubt that it is a travel book because that is exactly how Mark Twain described it. It is, however, much more than a travel book. It is a classic example of how American’s (more often than not) behave in foreign countries. The passing of 145 years (published in 1867) hasn’t changed the American mentality in the least. Twain’s pilgrimage was to southern Europe and the Holy Lands. His descriptions of fellow passengers and people they met we ...more
Marc Weitz
I found myself anxious to read this book expecting to enjoy the application of Mark Twain's wit to traveling abroad in Europe in 1867. The wit was there but hidden away amongst loads and loads of boring descriptions and events. Reading this book was like watching soccer: there were moments of interest tucked away in long minutes of people running around in a circle. So much so, that when the funny or interesting parts came up, I found that I would miss the beginning because I had zoned out.

This
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Bob Foulkes
The Innocents Abroad has been on my bookshelf to read for some time. I deflected the imperative to read it by giving it to my son, but when he returned it, I decided to dive in. This is one of Twain's famous books. He embarks on a voyage to Europe and the Middle East in 1869. Obviously dated and extensively written (he could have used a good editor), it is nevertheless worth the time it takes to sit down and enjoy his story. The book was a compilation of letters to a San Francisco newspaper; wel ...more
Naftoli
This travel log is one of the best books by Twain I have read. His observations throughout Europe and the Holy Land are hilarious, reflective, multi-layered, derogatory, compassionate, insightful, and at times tediously introspective; in short it looks, feels, and reads like typical Twain. Additionally, the reader sees with a new pair of eyes, that is, a mid-19thcentury American Protestant set of eyes. But not always, at times Twain demonstrates a citizen-of-the-world worldview before diving bac ...more
Stephanie
I recently watched the PBS program on Mark Twain, and decided to pick this up as one of the few of his works I haven't read. I love his humor, he could be so caustic and sarcastic and somehow endearing at the same time. I wish I had met him.

Reading this book took me back to a time of much international travel in my teens. I was a shy teenager, so I watched with horror as my family typefied the "Ugly American" stereotype he plays with here. He also captures that sense of the awe of the shear weig
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Zelda
This guffaw-inducing recollection of a pleasure cruise through Europe and the Holy Land made me want to ditch the husband and kids and minivan and become a travel writer. But then I realized that without my husband I don't have money to travel. And without my kids I don't have a need to leave the country to get a moment's peace. Also, I wouldn't have the freedom Twain had to express my open disdain for foreign cultures and people. Might as well stay home and enjoy Twain's "Roughing It". I hope i ...more
Natan
I read the Hebrew translation, and apparently they only translated the part about the trip in the Holy Land.

When I was little, I used to think about how fun it would be to bring some figure from history back to life and show him today's world. What would impress him the most? How would he react to modern technology? And that was before the Internet... Whom would I choose?

Anyway, now I have no doubts as to the last question. I would choose Mark Twain and show him around the modern State of Israel
...more
Mike Suter
Mark Twain's first book details his cruise from New York to Europe and through Palestine and back again. The book is a bit uneven; when Twain writes about his companions and himself, it can be hilarious. When he bothers to describe the sights, things bog down a bit. Despite being his first book, Clemens had already developed his 'Twain' persona at this point, and the great humorist is on full display. As an example: Twain and his card-playing comrades realize that the tour guides (who they unive ...more
Philip
Absolutely excellent book - knew Twain was a great storyteller, but forgot what a good writer he is, too. That said, I'm halfway through (he's jsut finished Europe and heading to the Middle East), and so going to take a break before continuing. This is beautifully written - and hysterically funny - stuff, but probably better to spread it out and enjoy it, rather than race to the end like I do with fiction.

The Innocents Abroad reads like the best Bill Bryson, except even more politically incorrec
...more
Donna
I grew up knowing the name Mark Twain and the usual books, but didn’t think much about him. Then I caught Hal Holbrook’s one man show, on stage and on TV. That’s when I became interested. I much preferred his personal thoughts and commentary. I love his wit and his irreverence.

I listened to the audio book first. The narrator did try to sound a bit like Mark Twain so that helped. I now need to buy the book and reread…for me this was interesting…a travel book of his time, very descriptive. Full o
...more
Joe
I first read this book before I ever travelled or left the US, I reread it now after having travelled most of the world. The first time it was amusing, the second time it was part hilarious and part frustrating. The book is certainly an entertaining travelogue, although at times tedious and dry, but is also a witty look at the way many Americans still view the rest of the world. There are so many aspects that have not changed in the last hundred and forty years. Some of his attempts at humor rem ...more
Sherrie
Twain "lost me" during the second half of the trip, when the pilgrims head for the Holy Land. Seeing as how I spent 12 years in Catholic school (16 if you count attending a Jesuit university too) I found all the Bibleland stuff horribly tedious and not very amusing.

Plus travelling with Twain is not as wonderful as one would think! He is close-minded, comparing everything in Europe to the size of things back in America (Lake Tahoe is a reoccurring reference point) and is mostly in a bad mood when
...more
Jason
Jan 12, 2015 Jason rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twain fans
Recommended to Jason by: Found it myself
The events in this book took place after the events in Roughing It , but it was written before them. Consequently, I feel like Roughing It is the better book since Twain matured as a writer in the 3 year interval. There were fewer side stories in this one, but still plenty of amusing observations.

The first half covers his trip through southern Europe, and the second half sticks to the travels in the Holy Land. Throughout all of it are beggars and poor people who hound him and his party the enti
...more
Fran Darling
After finishing a mammoth biography of Mark Twain this past year - I decided I need to read more of his actual works. I read the usual Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn as a young adult, but never ventured into any others. This is one of his first books that was to become popular and boost him to fame past that of journalist/short-story favorite. (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was written 10 yrs later)
His account of major countries in Europe and middle east around the Mediterranean are so far rea
...more
Eduardo
Fun account of Twain's travels abroad, with his usual sarcasm and humor. It's light reading but also interesting as it's based in real places and experiences. "It was the best selling of Twain's works during his lifetime and one of the best selling travel books of all time" -Wikipedia. Caveat: it has a lot of things that are now rude and could offend people, as he makes fun of all cultures (including the societies he visits and the American people he is with).

Here are some favorite passages:

...s
...more
Craig Williams
This book is absolutely hilarious! I've always loved Mark Twain, but I've never read any of his non-fiction work. His observations are scathingly sly and funny. As a stand-up comic, I feel it's important to study the works of Twain, as he is widely considered THE first stand-up comic (he made most of his money traveling town-to-town, telling funny anecdotes onstage). This book makes it clear why people would pay to see him speak live, as he is not only a gifted storyteller, but a funny man.

The b
...more
Lyndie Blevins
Apr 12, 2013 Lyndie Blevins rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Authors, Travelers, Readers
Recommended to Lyndie by: internet
Book Title The Innocents Abroad
Book Author Mark Twain
Publisher Readers Digest
Pub. Year 1869
Pages 432
Genre Travel
Ease of Read Moderately easy
ISBN 08957733920


I was attracted to this book because...

I need to research traveling by ship in 1867. This book was the perfect answer to learn about traveling in Europe in this time period, as well as an idea of writing in the time period. Matt Twain went on a Grand Tour of Europe and the Holy Lands in 1867. This book met all my research needs.

This book
...more
Scott
Could this be the best travel book ever written? It's the best that I've ever read. Twain's wit sparkles throughout. Usually he simply describes what he and his friends are doing. When he needs to he can wax as eloquently as Frances Mayes. His observations are unsparing, often taking opposing views from the "travel mythology." For example, he's at a loss to explain the popularity of the great mosque in Istanbul and has few kind words for the Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land. His trip starts out o ...more
Alene
Twain's report on his extended vacation through Europe and the Holy land. I loved it, definitely gave new perspective on some places I've been and taught me that apparently, the beauty of Lake Tahoe cannot be surpassed by any European lake : ) Guess I need to see Lake Tahoe since I never have.

Really I loved his humor about the possibility of all the holy places really being where the churches were built for them and the holy relics being authentic. For example, he jokes about how there can be n
...more
Robert Dunlap
Another excellent M. Twain. As someone who has spent years outside the US, the subtle way that Twain pokes fun at both American and non-American attitudes is hilarious.

His books are timeless, and maybe he knew how to make them so. It's not just Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer that appeal to us now. The same attitudes, the same ignorance, the same ridiculousness, the same irritation at hearing "baksheesh" pretty much every where you from North Africa to SE Asia, is still prevalent today. Transportation
...more
Alexandria
I read this back in high school and all I can say is

.... oh dear God...why?!

For real, I did not like it. It was slow and boring. I really love Twain's shorter works but not this. It made me fearful to read anything of his works for a while;maybe up until college. If I have the patience to give this another shot, I would. As of now, I don't and would not for some time...or never.
John Harder
Twain’s The Innocents Abroad is a travel book, chronicling the escapades and adventures of the roughly 60 passengers on board the Quaker City. The “pilgrims” shuttled about the Mediterranean with side jaunts through France and the holy land. Twain, as we all are, was a man of his time. This means that he is as filled with the provincial prejudices of his day, but he seems to recognize he prejudices and is able to laugh at himself.

Some passages or gruesomely humorous, such as his account in which
...more
Rachel G.
I had no idea this book existed until I found a tattered copy on a bookshelf at my parent's house. I fell in love with it so fast that I went out and bought another of Mark Twain's travel novels. This book should be required reading for every college junior, because despite the 150 year gap, Twain's experiences abroad are just as relevant today as they were then, and ironically, some things haven't changed much. His experience with the snobby French, loud Americans, and sleazy tour guides made m ...more
Lissa
For Literature with Lunch -- I enjoyed the book more after I researched "subscription books" and understood that Twain was padding his book contents to make an extra thick book so that people who bought it on subscription would feel like they got their money's worth. I imagine that I would have enjoyed his lecture tours a great deal more than this text -- or an audio version. I kept trying to read this too quickly to get all of the jokes, which are worked into the turn of a phrase -- well, actua ...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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“In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.” 102 likes
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 27 likes
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