The American Claimant: And Other Stories and Sketches

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Harper & Brothers, 1896 - American literature - 545 pages
The American Claimant is about Americans, the way they view themselves, the way they are viewed by others through the eyes of a British nobleman. Even though a century has passed since the book was written, most of the acute observations are as true today as when it was written. A young English nobleman, Viscount Berkeley, has determined to renounce his aristocratic station, emigrate to America and make his way by ability alone. His place in England is taken by Colonel Sellers, who believes himself the descendant of the family. Each learns that his conceptions of the society he is entering are wildly incorrect, as Twain reiterates a favorite theme--disenchantment with democracy. Other selections include "The 1,000,000 Bank-Note" which charts the magical rags-to-riches ascent of a virtuous and resourceful mining broker's clerk from San Francisco who arrives in London with a single dollar in his pocket, and proceeds to ultimate and splendid financial success and fame in London society--a paean to ingenuity and a celebration of its cunning confidence-man narrator.

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