This was the first book Samuel Clemens “Mark Twain” had wrote on a type writer. The book really is amazing, it very accurately talks about life in the 1800s. It was published by James R. Osgood & company, Boston in 1883. It’s a pretty short book, only around 300 pages, the scene around the Mississippi river is vividly detailed by our author. The thesis of this book is life on the Mississippi shows people never see the true beauty of nature, they look over it.
The first couple of chapters in the book are spent describing the history and geography of one of the largest rivers in the United States. It also talks about Mark Twain’s view as a “cub pilot” (someone training to be a steamboat pilot) when he leaves Hannibal, Missouri to when he finishes under his trainer Horace Bixby. This part of the book takes place from 1856-1859. Then we start to talk about the jobs Mark Twain had between 1859-1880 in one chapter. He then leaves for his first journey on the Mississippi River which he will be on for several months. During the time Mark Twain watched the rise and fall of the steamboat industry and growth of America. The events surrounding the Civil War the most important during that period. The entire Civil War and Reconstruction period took place in one chapter between the book, the second half of the book had many references to sites of the battles and all the damage the Civil War had. The first three chapters were spent talking about the Mississippi river, telling about its history when it was discovered in 1541 by Hernando De Soto all the way to the time of steam boats in the late 1810’s. Clemens also added eleven pages of his other book “Huckleberry Finn” for “illustrating keelboat talk and manners” (Clemens, p.10). The reason Mark Twain added parts of his other books into this book was because Life on the Mississippi was not long enough to publish when he finished it. He could have added a bit more information of his apprenticeship while being a “cub pilot” instead of adding passages from his other books. In the fourth chapter, Twain started think back of when he was a teenager and all of his experiences as a “cub pilot”. He spent a year under Horace Bixby, the pilot who was training him. They were riding on the steamboat named Paul Jones, and the things he had to do were incredibly tough. He had to remember thousands of checkpoints, rocks, currents, and the techniques to steer a steamboat