There’s plenty of vinegar here but plenty of the homespun and funny Twain as well. Essential for serious students of his...



A century after his death, the great American writer and controversialist speaks plainly—and sometimes not so nicely—from beyond the grave.

Earlier editions of this autobiography appeared throughout the 20th century, but Twain instructed that the unexpurgated version not appear for a century to spare the feelings not just of individuals, but also of their grandchildren. The great-grandchildren are on their own, however, and here Twain lights in with delight on unscrupulous publishers, swindling partners, unethical corporate barons and politicians. As he announced in planning his memoirs, which he began in 1870 and worked on until nearly the end of his life, Twain was not going to bind himself to the rules of chronology (and perhaps not those of the strict truth, either) but instead, would indulge his storytelling wont, being “as digressive and discursive as he likes,” in the words of the volume editors. That is just so, and Twain ambles here and there, from childhood to reminiscences of his friendship with U.S. Grant, recording his adventures and misadventures and his wide travels. From this volume, we learn, for instance, that England was woefully behind the times in telephony in 1896 (“Years ago there was a telephone system in England, but in the country parts it is about dead, and what is left of it in London has no value”), that he was 10 when he thrilled to the accomplishments of the Antarctic explorer Charles Wilkes, and that Twain was a resolute and angry anti-imperialist and a scourge of politicians more fiery than even his image of old would have it—even though, his editors note, he was a Republican as early as 1868.

There’s plenty of vinegar here but plenty of the homespun and funny Twain as well. Essential for serious students of his work and readable and revealing for all its surrounding scholarly apparatus.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-520-26719-0

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2013

Did you like this book?

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?