Harder Than It Looks: The Final Recollections of Mark Twain

Thomas Hauser, Author United Publishers Group $19.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-8038-9432-7
Samuel Clemens's formative first six weeks away from home (when he was 20) are the subject of Hauser's earnest but ultimately flimsy narrative, told in the voice of Twain writing at the age of 74 in 1910. On his way via coach to San Francisco, young Samuel Clemens stops at a small northwestern Kansas town to soak up the local color. He has a talent at poker (and smelling out the cheater) and becomes embroiled in a play of wills against a two-bit huckster and freedman, Hiram Kane, who exploits his slave, Bones, in public fighting matches. Clemens wins Bones in a card game and offers him freedom while sharing equally the profits from Bones's fighting ability. This particular incident in Twain's young life gives Hauser (The Hawthorne Group) the opportunity to write about a favorite subject, boxing (he has written books with and about Muhammad Ali), as well as to launch barbs at one of Twain's preferred targets, organized religion. Readers may admire Hauser more for his audacity than for his wit. Although Hauser has perfected the deadpan of Twain's delivery, inserting numerous compelling historical digressions along the way, this author is short on Twain's trademark humor, substituting all-too-obvious morals for the master's satire. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.