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The Innocents Abroad

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  10,334 ratings  ·  869 reviews
The Innocents Abroad is one of the most prominent and influential travel books ever written about Europe and the Holy Land.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published February 11th 2003 by Modern Library (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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3.86  · 
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 ·  10,334 ratings  ·  869 reviews

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Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
I love certain travel books, ones that give you an inspiring window on places you’ve never been or want to revisit while holding a humbling mirror up to the perspective and culture of the traveler. “Innocents Abroad” is a classic that fulfills this goal nicely and a fun read to boot. In 1867, the nearly unknown journalist Mark Twain set out at age 32 on a chartered ship from New York with a group of Americans for a three-month tour around the Mediterranean with major overland side-trips. His iti ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
This armchair travel guide is based on an actual journey made by Twain in 1867. He was only thirty-two. It first came out in the New York Herald, peu à peu as he sent in his journal entries. Only later in 1869 was it published as a book. The excursion route can be seen here:
By clicking on the map you are linked to the text in the book referring to the particular location. In this way you can check out Twain's writing.

So what makes this a classic, and why
Bryce Wilson
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 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 Feynman 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 Tw ...more
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.
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
First sentence: For months the great pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land was chatted about in the newspapers everywhere in America and discussed at countless firesides.

Premise/plot: The Innocents Abroad is a nonfiction travel book by Mark Twain. According to the copy I read, "it was the best selling of Twain’s works during his lifetime and one of the best selling travel books of all time." Twain and his fellow passengers are traveling aboard the ship Quaker City. They'll see parts of
Marc Weitz
Jun 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.

Thom Swennes
Mar 01, 2012 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
I love Mark Twains’s wit and humor and I really wanted to like this. The cover of the edition that I have is gorgeous by the way. There were a few funny sarcastic remarks here and there, but otherwise this was probably the most boring book that I’ve read in quite a while.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Human nature is very much the same all over the world.”

“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
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
Oct 09, 2012 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
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Bob Foulkes
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Ange H
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1867 Mark Twain had the opportunity, uncommon at the time, to go on a "pleasure cruise" to Europe and the Holy Land. This book is a collection of the reports he wrote back home during the trip.

I haven't read much by Mark Twain, and that was many years ago so I wasn't sure what to expect. Based on this account I am sad to report that he seemed like kind of an asshole. He went through this amazing adventure apparently determined to find the worst in everyone and everything he saw, and to repor
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
(APRIL '15) 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 just 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 politica
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finished-in-2014
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
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 27, 2006 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twain fans
Recommended to Jason by: Found it myself
Shelves: mark-twain, 2014, humor
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 three 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
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, non-fiction, humor
“Travel is fatal to bigotry and prejudice and narrow-mindedness.”

In 1867 young Samuel Clemens joined one of the first cruises for an extended voyage from New York City to the Holy Land. He serialized his impressions as they went, then sold the aggregate as a book. It was his best-selling book during his lifetime.

“The impressible memento-seeker was pecking at the venerable sarcophagus [inside Cheop’s Pyramid] with his sacrilegious hammer.”

Regular readers of Twain will enjoy this cynical, but less
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I want to start off my review by stating that I read this book for leisure, not for a class or for any other academic purpose; therefore, my review will be more of a personal-thoughts sort of entry as oppose to a critical analysis or anything of that sort.

The Innocents Abroad recounts Twain’s journey aboard the USS Quaker City , a retired civil war ship. The excursion is advertised to be full of excitement and adventure in foreign lands of great historical importance, but as Twain journeys thes
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Chris Selin
Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
For being a non-fiction work on traveling to Europe, Africa and the Holy Lands all the way back in 1867, this book was incredibly dull. It started out interesting, but ended up being nothing but Twain crabbing about everything and digressing about unrelated moments in his life. Granted, sections of the book did have me googling locations and historical figures to gain more knowledge, so I guess the fact that I learned and revisited subjects learned in the past allows this book a few redeeming qu ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Merging 2 editions 3 12 Jun 01, 2017 04:34PM  
Is there really no word for "home" in French? 5 31 Jan 16, 2016 09:37PM  

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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
“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.” 138 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.” 42 likes
More quotes…