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Mark Twain: A Life


In the most important narrative biography of Samuel Langhorne Clemens in half a century, a Pulitzer-Prize winner brings to life the astonishing man ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Mark Twain: A Life

Overall customer rating: 5.000

The real Mark Twain

by NancyF on Apr 10, 2007

Ron Powers has written about Mark Twain, arguably the greatest American writer, warts and all. While it is obvious that he admires Twain, he doesn't hesitate to note Twain's flaws such as his ambivalent attitudes regarding acquisition of wealth and power--particularly when it applied to Twain's social circle and business advisors--and his tendency to hold lifelong grudges. Twain is shown here as an artist who struggles with his creations, a family man whose family suffered multiple tragedies, a businessman with no real head for business, a "humorist" who loved and hated with great intensity. Mark Twain is known to most readers as the author of the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn novels, but he was far more than a writer of "boy adventures" and humor. He was also a complex man who wrote satires and diatribes about inequities in government, business and religion. Ron Powers chronicles Twain's development as a writer and as a man who struggled with his demons, a man who cared deeply about the downtrodden members of what he called "the damned human race." Powers brings the 19th and early 20th Centuries alive with anecdotes and historical notes which help the reader to better understand the times in which Mark Twain lived. Highly readable, with no "sanitizing" or bowdlerizing so common in previous biographies of Mark Twain, I believe this is the best of the Twain biographies and highly recommend it for both the scholar and the casual reader.

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