Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain's Raucous and Redemptive Around the World Comedy Tour

14 CDs. 16:38 hrs. Books on Tape. Apr. 2016. ISBN 9780553551174. $55. digital download. LIT
The year 1894 found Mark Twain deep in debt. All his investments had failed, as did his publishing and typesetting companies. When converted to modern financial values, these losses totaled more than $1 million. Twain's wife, Livy, who regarded business failures as a form of disgrace, insisted on full repayment of the debt. To raise the necessary money, Twain, Livy, and daughter Clara embarked on an ambitious speaking tour of Western America, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. Zacks (Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York) presents a detailed but fast-paced account of the adventure. While the grueling trip was punctuated by illness, worries regarding money, and homesickness, it also produced vivid and humorous accounts of people and places. The successful tour and its published account, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World, allowed Twain to repay what he owed. Reader George Guidall does an excellent job presenting the tale.
VERDICT Very highly recommended to all listeners. ["A welcome contribution to Twain scholarship, Zacks's book will also be relished by general readers": LJ 4/1/16 starred review of the Doubleday hc.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing