Mark Twain /

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Main Author: Ward, Geoffrey C.
Other Authors: Duncan, Dayton.
Burns, Ken, 1953-

Banks, Russell, 1940-
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 2001.
Edition:1st ed.
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Main Author:Ward, Geoffrey C.
Summary:

Ernest Hemingway called Huckleberry Finn "the best book we've ever had. There was nothing before. There's been nothing as good since." Critical opinion of this book hasn't dimmed since Hemingway uttered these words; as author Russell Banks says in these pages, Twain "makes possible an American literature which would otherwise not have been possible." He was the most famous American of his day, and remains in ours the most universally revered American writer. Here the master storytellers Geoffrey Ward, Ken Burns, and Dayton Duncan give us the first fully illustrated biography of Mark Twain, American literature's touchstone, its funniest and most inventive figure.

This book pulls together material from a variety of published and unpublished sources. It examines not merely his justly famous novels, stories, travelogues, and lectures, but also his diaries, letters, and 275 illustrations and photographs from throughout his life. The authors take us from Samuel Langhorne Clemens's boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to his time as a riverboat worker--when he adopted the sobriquet "Mark Twain"--to his varied careers as a newspaperman, printer, and author. They follow him from the home he built in Hartford, Connecticut, to his peripatetic travels across Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. We see Twain grieve over his favorite daughter's death, and we see him writing and noticing everything.

Twain believed that "The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven." This paradox fueled his hilarity and lay at the core of this irreverent yet profoundly serious author. With essays by Russell Banks, Jocelyn Chadwick, Ron Powers, and John Boyer, as well as an interview with actor and
frequent Twain portrayer Hal Holbrook, this book provides a full and rich portrayal of the first figure of American letters.

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Physical Description:xvi, 269 p. : ill. (some col.), 1 col. map ; 26 cm.
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references (p. 259) and index.
ISBN:0375405615 (alk. paper)
Author Notes:

Geoffrey C. Ward is an author, historian, and screenwriter. He has written for numerous documentary films, and has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Geoffrey Champion Ward was born in 1940 in Newark, Ohio. He was a graduate of Oberlin College in 1962. He is an editor, author, historian and writer of scripts for American history documentaries for public television. He is the author or co-author of 18 books, including five companion books to the documentaries he has written. He is the winner of seven Emmy Awards. He was the founding editor of Audience Magazine (1970-1973) and the editor of American Heritage Magazine (1977-1982). His 1989 biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, A First-class Temperament: the Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The principal writer of the television mini-series The Civil War, Ward has collaborated with its co-producer Ken Burns on most of the documentaries he has made since, including Jazz, Baseball, The War and Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. This work has earned him five Emmy Awards. He also won two Emmys for the American Experience series, including The Kennedys, in 1992 and TR,The Story of Theodore Roosevelt in 1996. His script for the documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, won the Writers Guild of America Award in 2005 and the accompanying book won the 2006 William Hill Sports Book of the Year and the Anisfield-Wolf Award for best biography.

His works include The War: An Intimate History, Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz can Change Your Life and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. His title The Roosevelts: An Intimate History made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014.

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