Life on the Mississippi cover

Life on the Mississippi

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

1. 01 The River and its History
2. 02 The River and its Explorers
3. 03 Frescoes From the Past
4. 04 The Boys’ Ambition
5. 05 I Want to be a Cub-pilot
6. 06 A Cub-pilot’s Experience
7. 07 A Daring Deed
8. 08 Perplexing Lessons
9. 09 Continued Perplexities
10. 10 Completing my Education
11. 11 The River Rises
12. 12 Sounding
13. 13 A Pilot’s Needs
14. 14 Rank and Dignity of Piloting
15. 15 The Pilots’ Monopoly
16. 16 Racing Days
17. 17 Cut-offs and Stephen
18. 18 I Take a Few Extra Lessons
19. 19 Brown and I Exchange Compliments
20. 20 A Catastrophe
21. 21 A Section in My Biography
22. 22 I Return to My Muttons
23. 23 Travelling Incognito
24. 24 My Incognito is Exploded
25. 25 From Cairo to Hickman
26. 26 Under Fire
27. 27 Some Imported Articles
28. 28 Uncle Mumford Unloads
29. 29 A Few Specimen Bricks
30. 30 Sketches by the Way
31. 31 A Thumb-print and What Came of It
32. 32 The Disposal of a Bonanza
33. 33 Refreshments and Ethics
34. 34 Tough Yarns
35. 35 Vicksburg During the Trouble
36. 36 The Professor’s Yarn
37. 37 The End of the ‘Gold Dust’
38. 38 The House Beautiful
39. 39 Manufactures and Miscreants
40. 40 Castles and Culture
41. 41 The Metropolis of the South
42. 42 Hygiene and Sentiment
43. 43 The Art of Inhumation
44. 44 City Sights
45. 45 Southern Sports
46. 46 Enchantments and Enchanters
47. 47 Uncle Remus and Mr. Cable
48. 48 Sugar and Postage
49. 49 Episodes in Pilot Life
50. 50 The ‘Original Jacobs’
51. 51 Reminiscences
52. 52 A Burning Brand
53. 53 My Boyhood’s Home
54. 54 Past and Present
55. 55 A Vendetta and Other Things
56. 56 A Question of Law
57. 57 An Archangel
58. 58 On the Upper River
59. 59 Legends and Scenery
60. 60 Speculations and Conclusion
61. 61 Appendix A
62. 62 Appendix B
63. 63 Appendix C
64. 64 Appendix D

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A river memoir documenting Twain’s early days as an apprentice steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. Reminiscing about his happy experiences as a young man under the instruction of an experienced mentor, the autobiographical tale depicts one of the most vivid illustrations of river life. Furthermore, the book captures the author’s nostalgic emotions through his resonant depiction of one of the most notable periods of his life. Twain begins his memoir with a rich historical account of the Mississippi River including its exploration by early explorers, its evolution, and its vastness. He then proceeds to tell of his youthful experiences along the river, and its significant role in his life from early childhood right up to adulthood. Subsequently, the classic focuses on Twain’s time as a cub-pilot on a steamboat and the incidents that occur during his apprenticeship. Never depicting a dull moment, the author mentions various characters and encounters which further enrich the tale as he navigates along the river. Written from a personal point of view, the story offers insight as the audience is exposed to a different angle of river life through an enchanting travel log. He vibrantly describes the beauties of the Mississippi River with its twists, shallows, rapids, turns and landmarks, consequently bringing life to the river. In the second part of the book, however, Twain describes a different experience on the Mississippi River, conveying the harsh reality of progress as he travels along the river years later. In addition the book presents opposing images of a bucolic setting not yet altered by the inescapable grasp of industrialization, and the image of the consequences instigated by industrialization and automation. A stunning blend of autobiography, history and tall tales, the book has much to offer to its audience, and also includes humorous appendixes and commentaries. A well comprised piece of writing, Life on the Mississippi is full of imagery and descriptive language that portrays the beauty of nature, culture and heritage. Exploring themes such as inevitable change and progress in society, gratification gained from the simplicity of nature, and the deceptiveness of outward appearance, the book is a timeless classic portraying an important part of American history.



- Life on the Mississippi

This is an excellent reading, very well done.


- Life on the Mississippi

An excellent trip down the river, superbly read. Recommended listening.


- Very interesting

A very interesting peek into a world long gone.. Very nicely read and a few lessons to be learned through the authors tales. Well worth listening to.