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VINE-PRODUKTTESTERam 19. Januar 2010
Mark Twain wrote this book after the success of his earlier travel books, though 'Life on the Mississippi' is hardly what one may call a traditional travel book but then neither are his earlier ones like 'The Innocencts Abroad'. A number of chapters had been previously published as a series of newspaper articles and describe Samuel Clemens's training as a Mississippi steamboat pilot before the Civil War. The other part of the book is largely based on Mark Twain's visit to the river in 1881, a trip he made expressly to gather material for this book and observe the changes time had brought to the Mississippi now sadly depleted of steamboats.

Written with wry humour the book covers a whole variety of subjects in this book, not only what one may expect like a history of the river or Mark Twain's own experiences on it and tall tales told to him and by him. Sometimes it is difficult to decide how far to trust the author and his reminscences. There are Indian legends and sarcastic observations and also some quite serious discussions on history, society or the question of why the recent war (known today mostly as the Civil War but also as the War between the States) was still so much on the mind of the people in the South. I particularly liked his theory that the war was caused by Sir Walter Scott's romances.

It is an interesting, amusing and informative book, but I think the reader has to have a previous interest in either the Mississippi, steamboats, Mark Twain or history to appreciate the book. For those who are interested in one or several of these topics this is a book well worth reading.
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am 6. Juni 2000
Mark Twain, the most globally recognised of the greatest American writers, comes closest to autobiography in this odd and fascinating book. This is the story of part of his life at least, and lays out much of his unique moral and political philosophy.
As a book, Life on the Mississippi lacks a truly coherent story line after the half-way point; it tells the story of Twain's training as a Mississippi steamboat pilot, then, when he returns to the river years later as a successful writer, it drops off into anecdotes as Twain travels down the great river, and can be a deadly bore for some readers.
But, oh, what a picture of Twain it draws! There are great tales of characters he meets along the river, told in his inimitably funny style, wonderful bits of his childhood - like the tale of his insomniac guilt and terror when the match he loans a drunk ends up causing the jail to burn down, killing the drunk - and insightful portraits of the towns and villages along the river.
This is a characteristically American book, about progress and independence as well as the greatest American river, written by this most characteristically American writer. It is a true classic (a thing Twain despised! He said, "Classics are books that everybody praises, but nobody reads."), a book that will remain a delight for the foreseeable future.
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am 19. September 2014
In this book Mark Twain evokes the glory days of the Mississippi steamboats which started about 1812 and lasted less than 60 years, a "strangely short life for so majestic a creature".

He brings to life the excitement, the adventure, the dangers, the beauty of working on a mighty, untamed river. He describes the life of the people living along its banks, their idiosyncracies, their manner of speech, their taste in decorating, their entertainment, their fight for survival. We get so many facts, so much information about life on and along the river that one feels what's not in this book is not worth knowing.

There is much hilarity as when Mark Twain recalls his own training as a steamboat pilot (he had to learn by heart twelve or thirteen hundred miles of river) or remembers extraordinary characters he met. There is tragedy and heroism as well as it was not rare that steamboats blew up resulting in many deaths and terrible injuries (Mark Twain's beloved younger brother Henry lost his life after four boilers blew up on the "Pennsylvania"). He talks of the spectacular sunsets, pitchblack nights, raging storms, the wildness, loneliness and grandiose vastness of the Mississippi.

When he returns about 20 years later the river was in the process of being tamed ("government has snatched out all the snags, and lit up the shores like Broadway), there were "great and strange" changes and the pilot's work was easier and less dangerous but some of the romance had gone out of it. He meets old friends, visits his home town Hannibal and marvels at the beautiful new cities springing up in the North.

Having said all that, I feel the book would have benefitted from being shorter and concentrating on the subject. Especially in the second half Mark Twain goes off on a tangent more and more often, resulting in disconnected and boring chapters, and Appendix D should definitely have been left out.
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am 24. August 1997
He picks you up off the spot where you are sitting and places you standing on the deck of a Mississippi riverboat in pre-Civil War America. His writing craft is so vivid, detailed, and compelling that you feel as if you yourself have followed each bend and turn, avoided each logjam, and squinted over the bow each starlit night of a journey down the mighty Mississippi River. Additionally, he adds context to the voyage, in the form of digressions about the times, the way peole thought and acted, real items from newspapers of the era, and his own opinions and observations of human nature. It is not a novel. It is non-fiction, but it's writing style makes it as readable as a novel. It was pure pleasure
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am 12. April 2015
Love the Short side Stories and conversations. Descriptions of towns along the river is boring. But crackling conversations Makes Good Reading.
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am 11. Juni 1998
Was Twain the greatest writer America ever produced? Certainly no other author has written so many genres so well. Life on the Mississippi is one of my favorites by Twain. What a storyteller! From his own personal experiences to explorers, psychics, the Civil War, slavery, geography, steamboat history etc. Twain gives us a glimpse into himself and his country.
Twain is of course humorous in this book, but his lesser known quality--insight--is very keen in this book. Twain's style is at once sophisticated and simple. It is pure mastery.
While this may not be up there with some of other Twain's writings, it is certainly worth the time and money. Definitely recommended.
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am 17. Februar 2013
Ich bin sehr zufrieden. Gefällt mir sehr, wie erwartet. Amazon wie immer klasse! super schnelle Liferung. Mein Mann war begeistert.
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