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Editorial Reviews

Over a century before the dime-a-dozen memoirs started popping up on our shelves from people with dubious claims to fame, Mark Twain wrote Life on the Mississippi. At the age of 12, when he was still going by Samuel Clemens, he left school to begin a career of odd jobs until he received his steamboat pilot license. It was this experience going up and down the Mississippi on the steamboat that not only provided the backdrop to these humorous and exciting tales, but also the occupation which gave him his famous pen name. Veteran narrator Norman Dietz gives a performance Twain would be proud of, ensuring the satire and earnestness alike are not lost on any listener.
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Publisher's Summary

When Mark Twain was growing up, all he wanted to be was a steamboat man. And so Twain ran away in pursuit of his dream. Life on the mighty river for Twain consisted of paddleboats and history, poker games and gamblers, larger-than-life characters and outlandish festivals like Mardi Gras. Twain recorded it all with his keen eye for detail and biting wit.
(P)1986 by Recorded Books, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Doug on 08-10-07

Humorous, poignant, informative, adventurous

The wild man from Hannibal who gave us Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn remembers (and revisits) his home town in this memoir written after he was rich and famous and no longer the kid that in his heart he always remained, at least partly. In making the journey, he tells about the geologic history of the Mississippi, about the geographic effects of the river, about the early days of steamboating on the river and the complexity of the task of moving a boat on a river that changed from hour to hour and day to day and was always ready to grab a boat and its passengers and pull them to muddy death. Any reader who enjoyed Tom and Huck owes it to himself to sample this wonderful story by a man who never wrote a bad sentence, although he was know for using bad language, i.e. profanity, at the drop of a cigar ash. I have listened to the recording twice, have read the book more than two times, and if I take a notion, I will do it again, regardless of the consequences, so little do I value sanity. (That was supposed to be humorous, but I really have listened twice and read twice....and I hope you do too.)

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

By Kristoffer on 09-16-03


I honestly think this is a good book depicting the way of life along the mighty Mississippi river, told with Twain's renowned wit and displaying his love for the subject, but unfortunately the horrible sound quality of this recording makes it near inaudible, and impossible to listen to. I gave up about two hours into the book, having understood only about half of what had been said. I'll be damned if I'm going to listen to a 14 hour long audio book, 7 of which consist of incoherent mumbling!

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32 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Mr. Acapella on 12-02-17

Mark Twain at his best

Mark Twain isnt always at his best but he is in this book, writing about what he knows and loves, in other words the olden days of steamboats and the Mississippi. Funny, interesting, moving and always colourful. Also Norman Dietz catches the mood of the man perfectly. Dry, brisk and a bit rustic but none the less sympathetic and humourous.

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By Caroline on 09-14-13

Fascinating insight to times gone by

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Most definitely, the detail, information and history is fascinating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, 'Mark Twain' of course, his story telling is just wonderful.

Any additional comments?

This is a book I could listen to again and again, the detail in it ensures that each time I hear it, I find out something new.

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