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Mark Twain's Civil War

by Mark Twain, edited by David Rachels

Availablecloth$60.00x 978-0-8131-2474-2
232 pages  Pubdate: 11/09/2007  5.5 x 8.5  29 photos

Had there been no Civil War, the eminent American author known as Mark Twain would likely have spent his life as Sam Clemens, the Mississippi River steamboat pilot. When the war came and the steamboats stopped running, Clemens served two weeks in the Missouri State Guard before he fled west to begin his career as a writer. After the Civil War dramatically altered the course of Twain’s life and career, his thoughts and stories about the war were published widely. Mark Twain’s Civil War marks the first occasion for readers to survey the full range of his Civil War writings in one volume. The book contains autobiographical pieces as well as fiction, appealing to both Twain enthusiasts and Civil War scholars.

For the first time, David Rachels has compiled and edited a work on just what Twain had to say about the war.Readers will find that Rachels' book provides insight into the war's influence on this great American writer, and the volume will find an appropriate place both in history collections and literary ones as well. -- Charleston Post and Courier

"The book is handsome, well produced, and well illustrated.... Although it does not include cery much scholarly apparatus (no index and little historical support for unknown names, places, events, and so on), the volume is a nice addition to the Twain bookshlef, and perfect for reading in an easy chair, with its roomy pages and comfortable font and style. More should be written about Mark Twain and the Civil War -- Harold K. Bush, Jr.

"Mark Twain's service in the Civil War as a confederate lasted two weeks, but he managed to write about the way, in one way or another, for most of his life, as Mark Twain's Civil War, edited by David Rachels, makes convincingly clear." -- Lexington Herald-Leader

“Those interested in the American Civil War and American literature will enjoy reading this unique collection of Mark Twain’s views on the Civil War located now in one volume." -- Lt. Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein -- The Waterline

“Though these texts are available elsewhere, Rachels has created a solid work of scholarship through this collection and his analytical introduction…. Whether read cover to cover or sampled over time, Mark Twain’s Civil War is an important addition to Twain scholarship.” -- R. K. Dickson -- The Bloomsbury Review

“Readers will find that Rachels’ book provides insight into the war’s influence on this great American writer, and the volume will find an appropriate place both in history collections and literary ones as well." -- Richard W. Hatcher III -- Post and Courier

“A useful and amusing volume. . .of Twain’s writings of fiction and nonfiction." -- Journal of American Cultures

Mark Twain’s Civil War offers a glimpse into the character of this remarkable man and sheds light on the contemplations of a young man who may have been less concerned about the Minie balls whizzing past his ear than about having to send one of his own whizzing into someone else. -- James G. Hollandsworth, Jr. -- The Journal of Mississippi History

If you like Mark Twain, and I do; if you like Civil War stories, especially those about the fighting men, and I do; if you like to wrestle with the idea that fiction can be true and that memoirs can be fiction, and I do; then you will agree with me that this book is both fun and a worthwhile endeavor. -- Vernon Burton -- Journal of Military History

Rachels has ably gathered some widely scattered material and sketched out a beginning at setting this literature in its context. His book leaves it to readers to take the next steps. -- John Bird -- Studies in American Culture