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The Innocents Abroad: Or the New Pilgrims' Progress

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,984 Ratings  ·  649 Reviews
Innocents Abroad began as a series of travel letters written by Mark Twain mainly for the Alta California, a San Francisco paper that sponsored his participation in the trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867 aboard the steamship Quaker City. On the excursion from New York to Palestine they traveled a distance of over 20,000 miles by land and sea through France, Spain, It ...more
Hardcover, 692 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Digital Scanning (first published 1869)
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Alejandro Alvarez The sole fact you are asking this question is making me think you shouldn't read books, and especially not those written by Mark Twain.

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike
Aug 24, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Patrick
Apr 09, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bryce Wilson
Jun 09, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-lit
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.
Phillip Ozdemir
May 26, 2013 Phillip Ozdemir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
Mar 01, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2012 Marc Weitz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Zelda
Feb 21, 2013 Zelda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Marita
Jun 30, 2015 Marita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This book was a very pleasant surprise. I've read the usual Mark Twain: Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I had never even heard of this book before and read it only because it was the book for my book club. It's taken me quite awhile to finish it, but I am so glad I pushed through and determined to finish it.

It is in a very different style than what I went into it expecting it to have. I think I expected dry, dull, monotonous descriptions of his travels. Not only were his descriptions much more
...more
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
Daren
As I made my way through the pages of this book, I became more and more concerned. I reached about halfway, and we were still in France, having departed New York, visited the Azores, Gibraltar, Spain and undertaken a sidetrip to Tangier. As I reached the three quarter mark, and we were in Venice.
I returned to the title pages, scouring for a clue as to my concern. Rechecking the published agenda of the steamship - yes, definitely a trip to the Holy Lands... Yes definitely a lot of Europe is list
...more
Naftoli
Sep 09, 2012 Naftoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Natan
Jul 01, 2012 Natan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
Jans
Nov 18, 2014 Jans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"... yep.
Jason
Jan 12, 2015 Jason rated it liked it  ·  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
Scott
Mar 16, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Maria
Mark Twain took a pleasure cruise in 1867 from New York to Europe and then down to Constantinople and Palestine. These are his recollections of his trip taken mainly from his letters and journal.

Why I started this book: I've enjoyed Twain's work and his autobiography, and I thought that his travelogue would be a great book to listen to while living abroad myself.

Why I finished it: It's long. Twain pokes fun, both of his American companions and the people that they meet along their journey. Writ
...more
Stephanie
Jun 30, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rebekah
Nov 12, 2015 Rebekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Mark Twain proceeds to make fun of every people group imaginable, including Americans, on a long cruise through Spain, Italy, Rome, Greece, France, and Jerusalem. And he does an excellent job of it. ;)
This book can be a bit boring in parts, but the ones patient enough to wade through lengthy descriptions of scenery and people will be richly rewarded. Mark Twain scatters priceless gems throughout the book which will not only bring a smile to your face, and even cause you to burst ou
...more
Joe
Dec 26, 2014 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert Dunlap
Aug 07, 2015 Robert Dunlap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alexis Ahotep
Difícil não gostar de Twain. O livro é um relato intenso, de extremo e apurado humor, de uma jornada a bordo de um paquete que, em finais do séc. XIX, sai de Nova Iorque rumo à Terra Santa, com paragem nos Açores, Gibraltar, Espanha, França, Itália, Turquia, Grécia, Palestina, Síria, entre outros. O olhar de um Americano sobre o Mundo Antigo e as suas riquezas. Uma sátira, crítica mordaz, reflexão, questionar de dogmas e desconstrução de mitos milenares. Twain bem dispõe e faz-nos rir de nós pró ...more
Stuart
Dec 05, 2015 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
A massive tome and too much for one read. This is Mark Twain's year-long journey through Europe and the Middle East. This was my first encounter with his non-fiction writing. His wit and humor come through on many occasions, but other times the criticisms are mean spirited and bigoted. It is difficult to know when he is being funny and when he truly believes some of the hateful things he says.

Parts of it are very good. His humor shines when he describes the travel guides they employed in cities
...more
Mike Suter
Feb 17, 2014 Mike Suter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Leah Schaeffer
Sep 30, 2015 Leah Schaeffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No words! Entertaining from beginning to end. Flowing, colorful, informative and never dragging for over 500 pages! I do not think I ever enjoyed a book in this way.His humor is truly something else, as he tours major religious and cultural edifices and debunks the myths and backwardness associated with the arts and relics of these famous churches and landmarks.

In this book, Mark Twain is on an excursion through Europe with Jerusalem being the end goal, and explains how most of such journeys ar
...more
Julie Mickens
I did not finish this. I'm going to have to try this again someday, because I just couldn't engage with this book even though I generally love Twain's writing. It felt tedious and low-stakes to me, less like Twain the incisive master satirist and more like a 19th-century Bill Bryson or even Dave Barry. Who are both fine, but not normally in the same league as Samuel L. Clemens. In fact, several Bryson books are better than this. It's somehow too affable (or maybe just wordy), when not being peev ...more
Lemar
Oct 05, 2011 Lemar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, humor
The best travel book I have ever read. Paul Theroux and so many more following his wake. This book full of genial humor that ends up telling us more about the travelers, Americans, than about the places he goes.
Elizabeth
Dec 27, 2006 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The First great Twain travel novel. The author makes fun of a bunch American tourists who travel through the Holy Land and the Near East in 1869. A must for Twain lovers and people interested in that region.
Donna
Apr 08, 2015 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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.” 123 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.” 33 likes
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