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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  372 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Mark Twain’s complete, uncensored Autobiography was an instant bestseller when the first volume was published in 2010, on the centennial of the author’s death, as he requested. Published to rave reviews, the Autobiography was hailed as the capstone of Twain’s career. It captures his authentic and unsuppressed voice, speaking clearly from the grave and brimming with humor, ...more
Hardcover, 776 pages
Published October 5th 2013 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 1924)
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Hadrian
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
In publishing his memoirs one hundred years after his death, Mark Twain has shown himself to be an excellent judge of his place in history as well as a savvy salesman. With the surprise success of his first volume of memoirs in 2010, Twain can now be rightfully said to be a best-seller in the 19th and 21st centuries.

Like the last volume, Twain refuses to adhere to the usual order of memoirs, starting with birth and ending with death. Instead, he follows the strict rule of 'whatever I feel like t
...more
Donna Merritt
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Many of Twain's observations, particularly about politics and human nature, still hold true today. His sense of humor is even more playful, satirical, and sarcastic than the books he published during his lifetime because he is free to say anything he likes about anyone, knowing his words won't be published until 100 years after his death. (And kudos to the publishing world for respecting his wishes!)

Anxiously awaiting volume 3.
Marti
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Twain came up with the idea for an autobiography, it solely for the purpose of augmenting earlier works so that his family could continue to live off the royalties (at the time a book was only under copyright for 42 years from the date published). By adding 50% new material to an older book like Tom Sawyer, it could legally be considered a "new" work.

The rambling style of these memoirs is what makes it appealing to me because you feel like a dinner guest at the Twain house. They fall on dif
...more
Bob Schnell
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could read the rantings of Samuel Clemens all day. "Autobiography of Mark Twain Vol. 2" starts where Vol. 1 left off. This was a little confusing to me since I thought I was reading Vol. 1 again. It just seemed that way at first since he re-visits some of the topics from Vol. 1. Once I was convinced I had the right book, I settled in for the ride.

To recap, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) dictated his autobiography in the last years of his life with the understanding that it would not be published
...more
Donna Davis
Depending upon whether the reader has or has not read The Autobiography of Mark Twain--the official work of the Twain Project at University of California--or not, this volume might be one star, or it might be 5 stars. There is no doubt as to the quality of Twain's prose, but heaven save all of us from battling academics that can't decide whether to list his dictations and writings in the order written, or in the chronological order in which they occurred. The Twain Project spent tremendous resou ...more
Lance Carney
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read Volume 1 extremely fast; I struggled to get through Volume 2. It was no doubt my fault, and Samuel L. cannot be blamed.
Hank Pharis
Jul 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Again primarily a collection of ancedotes for hard core fans of Mr. Twain. Especially interesting and sad and sometimes still confusing were his explanations of his belief system. As he says he did not want to publicly say these things during his career so he held them back for 100 years.

Some examples:

"Man is not to blame for what he is. He didn’t make himself. He has no control over himself. All the control is vested in his temperament—which he did not create—and in the circumstances which hedg
...more
Neil
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
And so THE publishing event of the century continues... When volume one came out in 2010, 100 years after Twain's death there was something of a media storm and the book topped the best-seller lists around the world, however the book seemed to bemuse more people than it delighted, I don't believe this volume has sold nearly as well, it ain't a conventional autobiography, then again Twain wasn't a conventional man. Put it simply if you didn't like volume one, if you found it too disjointed and ra ...more
Ken
Things I found interesting are that this book is dictated. Twain says he didn't 'write' this book. It reads like a journal, that's for sure. Twain was a speaker, as much as a writer, in his time. It was out of necessity, though, as publishers wrote contracts that gave them the money for his writing, more than probably was warranted. I suppose publishers provide the costly stuff of books: paper, ink machines to print, advertising, however it was interesting to learn that of Twain's most recognize ...more
Dennis
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the past three months I've listened to both volumes of the Autobiography of Mark Twain. They are nothing short of phenomenal. Twain decreed his autobiography would not be published for one hundred years after his death. This gave him the freedom to talk about anything he chose, about anyone he chose. Those affected including children and grand children would be dead before publication of the autobioography.
This is not a birth to death autobiography. Twain dictated whatever came into his min
...more
Jay Daze
I didn't make it through this. Started with the disadvantage of not having read volume one, but my experience with volume two doesn't make me want to pick it up. Twains decision to dictate his biography by what occured to him at the time makes for a pretty disjointed and meandering book.

Some parts, his thoughts on suicide, his 'enthusiasm' for talking to college girls was great, discourses on politics of the time or the sausage making view of publishing seemed to go on and on and on. Even the s
...more
Martin
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Where to even begin - how dare I review a Titan of literature? With this second volume, I am reminded of how important Twain is: he innovated the written word at a key time in world history, let alone American development. His wit shines through even brighter in this one, less careful, more bite. And some of it is absolutely timeless "The political & commercial morals of the US aren't merely food for laughter, they're a banquet" 30 Jan 1907

This is one to keep and flip backwards and forwards.
...more
Laurie
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Listening to Mark Twain's autobiography is like having a sassy dead friend who likes to dish the dirt with a wicked sense of humor.
Randy Auxier
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
(This review appeared in the Carbondale Nightlife, September 18-24, 2014, p. 18.)

Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain, vols.1 & 2, eds Harriet Elinor Smith, et al (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010, 2013), 736 and 733 pp. Hardcover, $45.00 each.

Mark Twain set down his pen for good in 1905, but his autobiography was composed mainly afterwards. From the fall of 1906 through the end of 1907 he dictated almost daily to an able stenographer and in the presence of his official biog
...more
Todd Stockslager
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Review title: Twain twice
When we last encountered Mr. Clements in volume 1 he was lounging about in his signature white suit dictating his "autobiography"--which was a rambling un-chronological stroll through whatever popped into his fertile mind that particular day. As we learned in the detailed introduction to that volume the notes were never compiled and produced as a single comprehensive autobiography until now. Volume 2 continues with these mostly daily notes from 1906 and 1907 although by
...more
Jay
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
While I usually greatly enjoy Mark Twain’s writings, this was a chore. This is really a compilation of the multiple autobiographies he started at various times throughout his life. I listened to volume 1, and found some chronology applied to the writings. Here, the stories jumped back and forth in time, making it hard to picture exactly when Twain was talking about. It was quite confusing throughout the book. And you can tell this is a mildly edited version of Twain’s work – he didn’t expect thi ...more
Theo Logos
This is the second of three volumes to be published of the Complete and Authoritative Edition of Mark Twain's massive biography, and like the first, it is worth the commitment. Mark Twain designed a unique technique for his biography; he abandoned chronological order, and simply told stories from his life and work as they popped into his head, in no particular order. He dictated much of it, often with his biographer present as audience. As such, this biography is very much like sitting down with ...more
Marks54
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is the second volume of the authoritative edition of the autobiography of Mark Twain. I read the first volume two and a half years ago. This volume follows in the same path of the first volume and is full of various stories, humor, social satire, and commentary. There is much enjoyable here and the book is most interesting as a commentary on American and world affairs in the decade before WWI. This volume has the limitations of the first volume. It is a collection of episodes and comme ...more
Chris
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full of incomparable wit, wisdom, and even just entertaining anecdotes from an extraordinary life. It's easy to envy Mr. Twain the charm and volubility that won him friends the world over; the adventurousness that alternately earned and cost him small fortunes; and the credulity and generosity which were often abused by unscrupulous business associates and acquaintances. His descriptions of these various memorable personages--whether family, friend or foe--are worthy character studies.

This colle
...more
Jason Riemens
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a little more than slightly unbelievable that this autobiography was released a 100 years after Mark Twain's death - for more than one reason and for very different reasons. First, the idea that it was hidden from most for so long seems quite impossible, but that of course is the allure - and what an allure it is.

Secondly, and most shocking, is the content of the book and the author's thoughts are so relevant today. Twain notes at one point that one's temperament (or nature) is unchangeab
...more
Candy Hudziak
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love that this book was written in 1906 but Twain's dry wit and observational humor is so modern. He delayed publication of his autobiography for 100 years because he wanted to speak frankly about his thoughts on organized religion, politics and human nature. He wrote with particular venom about the denunciation of Huck Finn by self-proclaimed Christians, who criticized it for its "low morality." Surprisingly for me, that book continued to be censored in various parts of the country well into ...more
John Harder
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It would be wrong to say that Volume 2 is a continuation of Volume 1, as Twain’s autobiography is not chronological. Twain decided to dictate his autobiography, and if his fancy took in to a non-chronological tangent he did not hesitate. This also helps the book to read like fiction – just another interesting story from a master.

I am entirely biased in this review since Twain is one of my favorite dead people. Even among living people, Twain’s corpse might pose stiff (pun intended) competition a
...more
Philip Cosand
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love reading Twain's comments on things that happened over an hundred years ago. Really I do. But dear word, the man sure does ramble.

I found it better to have this be a "pick up/ put down" sort of book. It isn't like one is going to lose track of the plot or get caught up in one characters adventures. It took me 4 months to read because going through several hundred pages of "Here's what I think today" can be a bit much.

That being said, what he does say, he says well. Where else are you going
...more
Don Weidinger
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
TR everything to be and not, Charles Webster assfull and debt, gorgeous forgiving, as a mirror, generosity spirit, Helen Keller met at 14 kindness without jealousy, power passing to national government, bring a fact to breakfast, turn republic to monarchy liberties auctioned off slowly sole purpose being purchase of votes physical courage common and moral courage rare and cowardly nature of man to not say disagreeable thing vote buying in pension undermines manhood moral disintegration 1906-07 c ...more
Al
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twain's original autobiography, published in 1924 after his death (not the hundred year version published recently). Twain dictated this from his bed; it's a non-chronological mish-mash of funny anecdotes, historical events, philosophy, family reminiscences, etc., all done in Twain's inimitable style. Self-centered, of course, but gracious and readable. Most interesting to me was the recounting of Twain's foolproof method for how the unemployed can always find work. Amazing that this hasn't cau ...more
Julie
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Love Twain - the folksy humor and witty quips, the loving devotion to his wife and three daughters that shines through in every description of their activities, the barbs directed at publishers, authors, critics, etc. Not being a Twain scholar, I was surprised by some things I didn't know about, including his loathing later in life of Bret Harte for his personal failings (Harte's relationship or lack thereof with his family being the polar opposite of Twain's). Definitely complete and authoritat ...more
Christy Leskovar
I knew that Mark Twain accompanied his brother out here to Nevada when his brother became secretary to the territorial governor, but I didn't know that Twain had to pay the fare on the overland coach for both of them, and that his brother Orion was such a flake, albeit an entertaining-to-read-about flake. I did tire of Twain's rant about the Immaculate Conception, especially since he didn't know what the Immaculate Conception is. He meant the Incarnation, and even then, he was way off base. He s ...more
Robin
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book continues the tradition of the first volume of supplying fascinating information and insight into the life and times of Mark Twain. That should not come as a surprise for an autobiography.
The "not-to-be-published-til-i'm-dead" details are infrequent but quite interesting, as are the additions of other people's (i.e. family) writings and news clippings.
While I do not think Twain's any-topic-goes approach to his autobiography was a poor decision, I sometimes found myself plodding throu
...more
Karen
Jun 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: biographies
The 13 Best Biographies, Memoirs, and History Books of 2013

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition (public library) — the highly anticipated sequel to the excellent first installment — reveals previously unknown facets of the greatest American satirist, celebrated as “the Lincoln of literature.” A large part of what made Twain Twain was his capacity for cultural nitpicking, from his irreverent advice to little girls to his critique of the press to his snarky
...more
Alan
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
As with the last part of the first volume, this autobiography is composed of dictations of reminiscences and ideas that Twain did in the last few years of his life. It is conversational and filled with both current events as he was dictating and memories of the people, events, and problems that he encountered over the years. Very enjoyable reading. The first 450 pages are the transcripts, the remainder of the book is appendices and notes. If you are a fan of Twain, I think you will find this enj ...more
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Olive Logan, 11 april 1906 1 2 Dec 01, 2014 08:08AM  
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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 shades of difference between other people and me serve to make variety and prevent monotony, but that is all; broadly speaking, we are all alike; and so by studying myself carefully and comparing myself with other people, and noting the divergences, I have been enabled to acquire a knowledge of the human race which I perceive is more accurate and more comprehensive than that which has been acquired and revealed by any other member of our species. As a result, my private and concealed opinion of myself is not of a complimentary sort. It follows that my estimate of the human race is the duplicate of my estimate of myself.” 5 likes
“Such incidents usually move me to try to find relief in the building of a maxim. It is a good way, because if you have luck you can get the venom out of yourself and into the maxim; then comfort and a healed spirit follow. Maxims are not easy to make; they do not come in right shape at the first call; they are creatures of evolution, of development; you have to try several plans before you get one that suits you, or even comes fairly near to suiting you.” 2 likes
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