Life on the Mississippi
A memoir of the steamboat era on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. The first half details a brief history of the river from its discovery by Hernando de Soto in 1541 and describes Twain's career as a Mississippi steamboat pilot, the fulfillment of a childhood dream. The second half of Life on the Mississippi tells of Twain's return, many years after, to travel the river from St. Louis to New Orleans. By then the competition from railroads had made steamboats passe, in spite of improvements in navigation and boat construction. Twain sees new, large cities on the river, and records his observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture.
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