Feature

Mark Twain: A Life

Perhaps the most complete biography of this great American writer focuses more on telling his life story than trying to analyze it.

The writer known as Mark Twain was surprised when he learned that his own daughters feared him. His ability to make people laugh had earned him a fortune. He traveled the world performing a Gilded Age version of stand-up comedy, often marveling as he went at the fairy-tale aspect of his rise. Poorly educated but incurably restless, the Missouri native churned through fistfuls of jobs and thousands of miles before he landed work as a Mississippi riverboat pilot in his early 20s. Through his subsequent books and lectures, he lifted himself into the frequent company of royalty and other blessed species. But knowing the world was easier than knowing himself. He counted his frightening mood changes among

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