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The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
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M_50x66
's review
Aug 24, 07

Recommended for: Anyone with a cynic's eye of the world
Read in January, 1984

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 the site, or museum, their attitude before the remains of some long-ago Renaissance man is the same: "Is . . . is he dead?" This also drives the Fergusons crazy.

Is this admirable? No, but it epitomizes the experience of Americans abroad. It is brash, showing at once disdain for and secret envy of the old world, its people, and its institutions.

This is the book that instilled in me a wanderlust that still afflicts me, even though I have rarely been able to satisfy it. I wanted to travel the world and call my guides Ferguson. I still do.
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Teresa Ellis Exactly what I wanted to say and didn't know how to say it. :)


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