Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

c. 1883   
Twains First edition was published in 1883.  It includes the S. L. Clemens tradmark
Copyright 1874 and 1875 by H.O.Houghton and Company
 
Description: TWAIN, MARK. LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. BOSTON: James R. Osgood and Company (Sold by subscription only) 1883. brown boards stamped in black and gold with man sitting on pier, 624 pages.
First Edition: the caption on p. 443 remains "The St. Louis Hotel" instead of "The St.Charles Hotel" as in later states.
First edition later state has St. Charles hotel pp.443 and no Twain in flames on pp. 441.
Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War.
The book begins with a brief history of the river from its discovery by Hernando de Soto in 1541. It continues with anecdotes of Twain's training as a steamboat pilot, as the 'cub' of an experienced pilot. He describes, with great affection, the science of navigating the ever-changing Mississippi River.
In the second half, the book describes Twain's return, many years later, to travel on a steamboat from St. Louis to New Orleans. He describes the competition from railroads, the new, large cities, and his observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture. He also tells some stories that are most likely tall tales.
Simultaneously published in 1887 in the U.S. and in England

 
Life on the Mississippi
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