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Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years

por Michael Shelden

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1354199,679 (4.32)3
Mark Twain: Man in White brings the legendary author's twilight years vividly to life, offering surprising insights, including an intimate, tender look at his family life. Includes rare and never-published Twain photos, delightful anecdotes, and memorable quotes, including numerous recovered Twainisms.… (mais)
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I love Mark Twain and have since I started reading to myself long ago. I still love Mark Twain and I learned a few things about him that I'm glad to know, but mostly, in this biography which covers the last few years of his life, I learned things I would rather not have known or didn't need to know. Nothing bad about him, he comes through as the marvelous being he was--enlightened through and through, funny, kind, brilliant, observant and full of a special kind of exuberance, a talent for living, you could say. In summary, after Twain's wife, Livy, died, he bought a house he didn't really like in New York, lived there with his daughter Clara, acquired a secretary/house manager and got on with things. His boldest move was to begin wearing white. He worked hard on his Autobiography, knowing large parts of it were unprintable until after his death. His closest friend was Henry Rogers of Standard Oil, he enjoyed the company of young girls -- but let me stop your eyebrows from rising right now -- there isn't a whiff of anything sordid in it. He wasn't a lascivious person, was faithful and loved his wife, loved having daughters, wished he had granddaughters, and generally, liked the female spirit (thought they should have the vote, btw.) Twain is a reminder that our own culture has become almost hysterical with fear of close friendships occurring between people of different ages and genders. The big story here is that Twain decided to have a house built in Redding, Ct, but he was too busy to supervise it and he set Isabel Lyons, the woman who ran everything on the project. Somewhere in there he acquired a secretary, Ashcroft, and with one thing and another Lyons and Ashcroft left to their own devices too much and with no supervision and full access to funds began cheating and scheming to get legal control of all of Twain's property. It's a sordid story indeed and a lesson to never trust anyone but yourself, really. Lyons didn't start out with any plans to cheat and steal, but bit by bit, she fell down a rabbit hole of a little here and a little there and then Ashcroft came up with a big plan and she went with it. The house, Stormfields, was beautiful, but only stood for about 14 years, most of the time empty, before burning to the ground. The death of his youngest daughter, Jean, (who had severe epilepsy) was the turning point for Twain and after that, he began to fail. Probably the one thing I am most intrigued and happy to know is that Twain was born on the day Halley's comet passed over and died the same day as it passed by 75 years later. So appropriate! I probably should have Pearled this bio, it took an age to get through! And it felt, yes, a bit gossipy rather than literary. And kind of sad. *** ( )
  sibylline | Jul 5, 2020 |
This biography covers merely the last 3 years of Mark Twain's life and all I could think was, wow, hope I have that much to write about 3 years of MY life! Even while he wasn't writing Mark Twain certainly lived his life. I really enjoyed this book and I love reading how eccentric he could be. Highly enjoyable. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
I thought this book was well written and researched, but it did not meet my needs. I was hoping that the book would explore more of his writings and the mechanics and details surrounding the writing of his most famous works. The book barely even mentioned his books. The book focused on his overall life as a famous author, not how he became a famous author. One thumb up. ( )
  branjohb | Aug 24, 2015 |
Covers Twain's last three and a half years after his wife's death. ( )
  reannon | Aug 25, 2011 |
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A lively, star-struck and surprise-filled portrait of Twain the septuagenarian.
adicionada por Shortride | editarThe New York Times, Janet Maslin (Feb 11, 2010)
 
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Mark Twain: Man in White brings the legendary author's twilight years vividly to life, offering surprising insights, including an intimate, tender look at his family life. Includes rare and never-published Twain photos, delightful anecdotes, and memorable quotes, including numerous recovered Twainisms.

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