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Sintesi dell'editore

When Mark Twain was growing up, all he wanted to be was a steamboat man. And so Twain ran away in pursuit of his dream. Life on the mighty river for Twain consisted of paddleboats and history, poker games and gamblers, larger-than-life characters and outlandish festivals like Mardi Gras. Twain recorded it all with his keen eye for detail and biting wit.
(P)1986 by Recorded Books, Inc.

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  • Doug
  • 10 08 2007

Humorous, poignant, informative, adventurous

The wild man from Hannibal who gave us Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn remembers (and revisits) his home town in this memoir written after he was rich and famous and no longer the kid that in his heart he always remained, at least partly. In making the journey, he tells about the geologic history of the Mississippi, about the geographic effects of the river, about the early days of steamboating on the river and the complexity of the task of moving a boat on a river that changed from hour to hour and day to day and was always ready to grab a boat and its passengers and pull them to muddy death. Any reader who enjoyed Tom and Huck owes it to himself to sample this wonderful story by a man who never wrote a bad sentence, although he was know for using bad language, i.e. profanity, at the drop of a cigar ash. I have listened to the recording twice, have read the book more than two times, and if I take a notion, I will do it again, regardless of the consequences, so little do I value sanity. (That was supposed to be humorous, but I really have listened twice and read twice....and I hope you do too.)

8 su 8 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Kristoffer
  • 16 09 2003


I honestly think this is a good book depicting the way of life along the mighty Mississippi river, told with Twain's renowned wit and displaying his love for the subject, but unfortunately the horrible sound quality of this recording makes it near inaudible, and impossible to listen to. I gave up about two hours into the book, having understood only about half of what had been said. I'll be damned if I'm going to listen to a 14 hour long audio book, 7 of which consist of incoherent mumbling!

32 su 35 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • bob orca
  • 08 07 2008


Mark Twain's Life on the Mississipi is excellent, one of his best works. It contains a nice blend of humor and a picture of a part of early American life. Some of the previous reviewers commented negatively on the recording quality, which kept me from getting this book up to now but I finally decided to go for it anyway. To tell the truth I can't find anything wrong with the recording quality so I'm not sure why the other reviewers complained, plus the narrator has a very clear voice and one which seems to capture my mental image of Twain. Overall highly recommended.

6 su 6 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • CMac
  • 19 08 2008

Quintessent, Elegant, Perfect...

I am shocked that people actually had the audacity to review this work based upon its fidelity. And for the record (no pun), the recording is FINE if you have any clue how to operate any sort of an audio playback machine.
What this piece is about is obviously the text, which is Twain at his documentary best.
This piece is also about Norman Dietz, who is -objectively- the most straight and consistent reader of the Twain out there. And he's on the money and very sweet in this version.
But getting back to the text, this is a most lovely American document. It should be required reading. Artfully woven language, satire and prose, with a touch of poetic angst put this in the tops of this reviewers list of books-to-be-listened-to.
Thank you, Norman, and a huge thanks to the author wherever he is. He's a mighty powerful pen with a passion and a pension to please.

9 su 10 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Martin
  • 01 01 2009

Absolutely delightful

This book got some bad reviews here, but I can't see why. The narrator was a champion storyteller and every word was clear. It's about an interesting time in American history, humorously told as the autobiography of a steamboat pilot.

3 su 3 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • cort
  • 21 03 2009

Not one of Twain's best

The narration is excellent and the story offers an interesting historical perspective of a unique period in American history. Still, the book is short on the wit and humor that mark many of Twain's other better books.

2 su 2 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Mike
  • 28 04 2005

Mostly Audible :)

Yes, the narration starts off badly technically sampled, but the quality gets very good a little less than halfway through. In all, the audio quality wasn't bad enough for it to significatly effect my understanding or enjoyment of the book. The content however is a bit like the Mississippi, rather meandering and long.

The book follows Twain down and back up the Mississippi who gives picturesque vingettes of everything inbetween. He also gives an excellent and detailed history of river navigation and how to be a steamboat pilot, from his own experience as one in the 1800's. There are many exciting and interesting stories in the narration which are frustratingly enjoyable as the rest of the novel can be quite dull. Frustrating because they are good enough to keep you plodding through the dull stuff to hear another good one :) Just be prepared for a very long read as it can put you to sleep often. It took me two months to get through it. But, again like the Mississippi, it's slow, peaceful and soothing. Do listen to the appendix at the end as it contains an excerpt he recorded about an old Indian story titled "The Head that Wouldn't Die" In my opinion, it's the hilite of the book!

4 su 5 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Beth Kern
  • 27 01 2017

Can't Beat a Good Twain

Everyone knows Mark Twain, and by now they know well enough if they like him as a writer or not. So, I shall not say more than that this book is an excellent look into life of that Era, not just the area.

Norman Dietz reads very well and gives the listener the sense of one speaking from that time.

Overall, very enjoyable!

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  • Russell Bernard
  • 04 08 2016

Great American Classic all should listen to.

Listened to a different version with Grover Gardner and it is wonderful.
the stories are wonderful.

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  • Andrew
  • 17 10 2014

I Prefer His Fiction

Any additional comments?

This was the least interesting Twain book I have read, it is an account of events that happened to him, parts where very interesting and other parts where very uninteresting.

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  • Lord Peridot
  • Cornwall, UK
  • 02 12 2017

Mark Twain at his best

Mark Twain isnt always at his best but he is in this book, writing about what he knows and loves, in other words the olden days of steamboats and the Mississippi. Funny, interesting, moving and always colourful. Also Norman Dietz catches the mood of the man perfectly. Dry, brisk and a bit rustic but none the less sympathetic and humourous.

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  • Caroline
  • France
  • 14 09 2013

Fascinating insight to times gone by

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Most definitely, the detail, information and history is fascinating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, 'Mark Twain' of course, his story telling is just wonderful.

Any additional comments?

This is a book I could listen to again and again, the detail in it ensures that each time I hear it, I find out something new.