Mark Twain (Audio) ~ Dayton Duncan (Author) Cover Art

Mark Twain (Audio)

By: Dayton Duncan (Author), Geoffrey C. Ward (Author) and Ken Burns (Author)

Also Available in: [Hardcover]

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Product note

This is more than a lavishly illustrated companion book to the Mark Twain PBS series. National Book Critics Circle Award winner Geoffrey C. Ward, Dayton Duncan, and Ken Burns have produced a cogent, colorful portrait of the man who forged our national identity in the sentences he spun. Excellent though the brisk narrative may be, the book's greatest pleasures are the extensive Twain quotations; no one has topped his description of the Mississippi River, and he had a salty remark for every occasion (charged an outrageous fee for a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, he cracked, "Do you wonder now that Christ walked?"). Passages from his correspondence reveal a man of deep feeling; letters to his wife Livy movingly express enduring marital love, and the grief-stricken note following his beloved daughter Susy's sudden death is almost unbearable to read. Excerpts from less well known works like "The War Prayer" highlight Twain's scathing contempt for imperialism and hypocrisy alike. Several freestanding pieces by various admirers (including novelist Russell Banks and actor Hal Holbrook) supplement the authors' text; most notable among them is critic Jocelyn Chadwick's persuasive defense of Twain's frequent use of "The Six-Letter Word" (n----r) in Huckleberry Finn as a necessary and still-shocking device to confront Americans with the moral horror of racism. Gracefully synthesizing current scholarship, this warmhearted biography provides the perfect introduction to Mark Twain. --Wendy Smith

Short Desription

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5 CDs/6 hours

A companion audiobook to the 4-hour PBS television series.

From the authors of Jazz, Baseball, and The Civil War: a biography of one of the central figures of our literature—the American titan who gave us Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Life on the Mississippi.

Using material from Twain's works, diaries, and letters, Mark Twain follows the great writer/humorist/lecturer/people's philosopher from the Hannibal, Missouri of his childhood, to the Europe and Middle East of his travels (and hilarious travel books); from his beginnings as a newspaperman to his storied life as (in his own words) "the most conspicuous man on the planet."

The essential companion audiobook to the upcoming public television series, Mark Twain also stands on its own as an enthralling biography.

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