A thoughly enjoyable view of the frontier west, and introduction to an emerging genius of American writing. Twain is well informed, honest, and surprisingly prudish is his role as storyteller, but always intent on keeping his reader interested. Good Read!
Gentry A. reviewed Roughing It (The Penguin American Library) on
From the back of the book:
Mark Twain's ramblings took him all over the American West during the 1860s. He prospected for gold and silver, speculated on timber and mining stocks, sailed to Hawaii, and worked for a succession of small newspapers. In 'Roughing It', his fictionalized account of these years, tall tales abound, as do sketches of unforgettable characters: desperadoes, vigilantes, newspapermen, Mormons, and prospectors.
Twain's debt to the burlesque stylings of regional humorists and his celebrated gift for accurately rendering regional speech are never more in evidence than here, but as Hamlin Hill points out in his introduction, "Roughing It" must also be read as Twain's renunciation of his footloose bachelorhood, his rejection of the mythic, romanticized image of the West, and his autopsy of the American dream.
This Twain work is lesser-known but just as good as his more popular books and covers his experiences out West in the 1860's. He spends much of the narrative on silver mining but it is a good record of nineteenth century life and culture in the American West. Don't skip the lengthy introduction where the trials and tragedies of Clemens' life are revealed and through it all, he was writing humor for a living.