Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years

Michael Shelden, Author . Random $30 (484p) ISBN 978-0-679-44800-6

On the centenary of Twain’s death, two books on his last years.

Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years Michael Shelden . Random , $30 (528p) ISBN 978-0-679-44800-6

Shelden (Orwell ) centers on the writer’s signature white suit—which first raised a ruckus when he donned it in the wintery month of December 1906 for an event at the Library of Congress. Shelden also sets the record straight with respect to Twain’s continuing humor into his old age in spite of the deaths of his beloved wife and his epileptic daughter, Jean, and his often tempestuous relations with musical daughter Clara. Twain’s last years were chock-full, including a feud with Mary Baker Eddy and encounters with Bram Stoker, Bernard Shaw, Helen Keller, and others. Much of the emotional void was filled by Twain’s complex but seemingly platonic relationships with a series of girls. The last part of Twain’s life was cynically managed by a team of his secretary, Isabel Lyon, and business manager, Ralph Ashcroft. Here is a well-researched book for all Twainiacs as well as those coming to the subject’s late years for the first time. 46 photos. (Apr. 20)

Reviewed on: 12/14/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
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