Mark Twain

Margaret Sanborn, Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (508p) ISBN 978-0-385-23702-4
Here for the first time is an exuberant yet scholarly reconstruction of Twain's youth, from birth in 1835 to marriage in 1870, a marvelous well of experience into which he dipped for so much of his later writing. We see Samuel Langhorne Clemens grow from the sickly child of a grim-faced attorney and a beautiful, witty mother into a sturdy youth with a puckish sense of humor (not always amused when the joke was on him) and an irrepressible appetite for life that impelled him from one adventurous enterprise to another. After some years as a roving teenage printer who delighted in sending squibs to the newspapers, he became a Mississippi riverboat captain, then a Confederate soldier, would-be Nevada silver miner, California journalist, widely traveled newspaper correspondent, popular lecturer and bestselling author. Sanborn ( Robert E. Lee ) relies heavily on Twain's largely untapped personal letters to make us feel close to the very texture of his personality in its darker as well as its lighter aspects. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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