Mark Twain, the World, and Me: Following the Equator, Then and Now

Univ. of Alabama. Mar. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9780817359676. pap. LIT
When a distinguished scholar inserts the word Me in a book’s title, readers should expect something special—which is exactly what this lively volume delivers. At its core, this is a perceptive and often moving analysis of Following the Equator (1897), Mark Twain’s last great travel book and easily his most neglected major work. In contrast to his other travel titles, Equator is a sober and relatively straightforward account of the yearlong lecture tour that took him through Australia, India, and South Africa during the 1890s. What makes this new study special is that Harris (emerita, literature, Univ. of Kansas; God’s Arbiters: Americans and the Philippines, 1898–1902) weaves in deep discussions of her own life and travels in Twain’s footsteps, making Twain’s story come more alive while bringing his views on world cultures, religion, race relations, and imperialism into the 21st century.
VERDICT A can’t-miss title for those interested in Twain’s life and especially his views on religion and imperialism.
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