Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mark Twain in Hawaii

Mark Twain in Hawaii: Roughing It In the Sandwich Islands, by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1990? (85 pages)

When we were in Maui, I walked across the street to Whalers General Store one afternoon to pick up a 6-pack of Diet Coke. While I was there, I wandered through the "tourist trap" souvenir section, just to see what they had. I was intrigued by their little rack of books, and I saw this one. For $5.95, I figured it was worth picking up.

In 1866, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was sent to the Hawaiian Islands as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union newspaper. He spent about four months there, and in that time, he wrote 25 articles for the paper and took many personal notes. In 1872, he wrote this personal narrative using much of the information from those articles and notes. (*Note...this book was actually written in 1872, but the publishing date in my book is 1990. I think that's just that specific edition, with the foreword and the extra drawings and photos added in the back.)

It was a very quick read, and it definitely includes some of the Twain humor that I've grown to love. In places, he's very sarcastic and satirical. I've read a couple reviews of this book that say that Twain is being racist, but frankly, for the most part, I think those people are missing the satire. (Imagine that...people misunderstanding Twain!) I really liked the sections where he's describing his visits to the volcanoes, and he also describes a quick visit to Maui and Haleakala (which we saw on our last day there).

It wasn't a thrilling read, but it was very interesting to see the perspective of an American visiting the kingdom of Hawaii long before it became a state. If you can find this book, it's worth a quick read!
Total number of books read in 2009: 35
Total number of pages read in 2009: 12452

No comments: