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Publisher's Summary

In June 1867, Mark Twain set out for Europe and the Holy Land on the paddle steamer Quaker City. His enduring, no-nonsense guide for the first-time traveler also served as an antidote to the insufferably romantic travel books of the period.
“Who could read the programme for the excursion without longing to make one of the party?”
So Mark Twain acclaims his voyage from New York City to Europe and the Holy Land. His adventures produced The Innocents Abroad, a book so funny and provocative it made him an international star for the rest of his life. He was making his first responses to the Old World—to Paris, Milan, Florence, Venice, Pompeii, Constantinople, Sebastopol, Balaklava, Damascus, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. For the first time he was seeing the great paintings and sculptures of the Old Masters. He responded with wonder and amazement but also with exasperation, irritation, and disbelief. Above all he displayed the great energy of his humor, more explosive for us now than for his beguiled contemporaries.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“A classic work…[that] marks a critical point in the development of our literature.” (Leslie A. Fiedler, literary critic)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Cynthia Franks on 05-08-12

Twain's Hidden Gem

If you've not read Innocents Abroad, this is a great way to experience it. Many don't read this and it is one of Twain's hidden gems. It is Twain at his best, "Is he dead?" The first time I read it, it made me laugh out loud in public places. If you have travelled at all you will enjoy it. If you travelled to these places you'll get an extra bang out of it. Human nature is timeless and there is no better proof of it than the observations of a master. He gives the straight dope on traveling in Holy Land.

For a long time the only version of "Innocents Abroad," was narrated by Flo Gipson. The first time I heard it, I thought it was horrible. But I've listened to it more than once, it makes great bed-time listening. I downloaded this version because it was narrated by a man, but I have to say, I think Flo Gipson captured Twain's irreverent tone better than Grover Gardner. Grover Gardner has a more pleasing sounding voice than Flo, though. So it's a toss-up.

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30 of 31 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By M. S. Cohen on 03-06-13

Wow! 100 years old and totally fresh today!

What did you love best about The Innocents Abroad?

All the terrific anecdotes about how the Americans interact with the Europeans. And the hilarious problems with language and guides.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Innocents Abroad?

How they would rename all their guides to "Fergusen"

Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Hadn't heard him before but he was wonderful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not really.

Any additional comments?

For anyone who thinks Mark Twain is just Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn, they should listen to this book. It is just wonderful. And tells you a lot about life in the 19th Century.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anfisa on 07-15-16

Hilarious, but poignant

A peculiar fact about the most famous humourist of the 19th century is that of all his numerous works, it was the serious and even sentimental "Joan of Arc" that he was most proud of. This dichotomy between the merciless satirist and a man capable of deep empathy and enraged by social injustices is nowhere as apparent as in this travelogue.

Published in 1869, this book witnessed the period immediately succeeding one of the most tumultuous periods in European social history and Twain pulls no punches from his perspective of a more politically advanced and enlightened American citizen. He gets our laughs by ridiculing everything from great art ("some of us said that certain of the great works of the old masters were glorious creations of genius - we found it out in the guide-book, though we got hold of the wrong picture sometimes") to the trade in relics (of the Holy Cross: "I would not like to be positive, but I think we have seen as much as a keg of these nails"), but then immediately offers a moving description of the abjectly poor Italian masses, forced to beg in the streets.while the Roman church hoards gold and flogs holy trinkets to tourists. This work is as much a short introduction to the 19th century European politics as it is a hilarious road trip through the Old World.

Gardner's narration is wonderfully suited to Twain's mix of laughs and poignancy. His comic timing and delivery are impeccable - sometimes his narration is so dry, that you have to rewind to make sure that he really just said what you think he did. Gardner appreciates that this is Twain's gig and the text is strong enough to stand on its own without any 'nudge, nudge' encouragements from the narrator, so the laughs remain unexpected and fresh and you don't see many of them coming even after you have listened to most of the book.

Word of advice - be careful about listening to this on public transport if you have a tendency to snort.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Ian on 02-17-16

Marky Mark

What did you like most about The Innocents Abroad?

If you've ever been to any of these cities, try some mental compare and contrasting. It's interesting to note how much/little changes.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mark. He's pretty much the only constant character.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I loved most of the bits in the holy land.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

There and back again

Any additional comments?

He's incredibly sarcastic (I think?) about everywhere. Be warned if you hate sarcasm.

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