Robert Busko's Reviews > Autobiography, Vol. 1

Autobiography, Vol. 1 by Mark Twain
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Dec 07, 10

Read in December, 2010

This particular autobiography is like setting down with Samuel Clemens in a room and having a casual conversation with the man. His thoughts are clear and expressed conversationally and appear to come to the forefront almost as if he were speaking privately with a friend. One of the most impressive things about Clemens in his autobiography is his willingness to speak candidly and with little restraint. I suspect this came from his knowing that what he said would not be published for 100 years after his death. There is freedom in that.

While the author reveals much about himself and his relationships with those present in his life, I must say that he also provides us with an intimate window into life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Early on in volume one, Clemens talks about life on this families farm. He goes into some detail in listing the foods that they ate regularly. Whether these were his favorites and merely an inventory of dishes is not clear. What is clear is that his family lived well for the time. Also his discussions about mining in Nevada is eye opening.

The book isn't in chronological order. In fact the book is unfinished in certain aspects. Chapters are titled "Chapter" without any name. Clearly Clemens intended to return and further organize them. Also, notes are added in places. Whether these were intended for himself or for someone else is unclear.

Anyone who has ever read Tom Sawyer or the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will be interested in the impressive volume. Books of this nature require that I take them in stages. Having been through the book once, I will return again and again to reread sections. This will continue until volume two is released.

I highly recommend The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1. It is the closest you'll get to meeting Mark.

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