Mark Twain, who lived from 1835 to
1910, is one of America's most famous authors. He wrote many books, including
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark
Twain's own life was interesting enough to be a book.
Twain was born in the state of
Missouri, near the Mississippi River. He came from a poor family. His father
died when he was twelve, so he had to leave school. While he was still a boy,
he worked as a riverboat pilot. He steered boats up and down the long
The Civil War, which started in 1861,
made traveling on the Mississippi impossible. Twain then went west to Nevada.
There he worked on a newspaper. In 1864 he went to California to find gold.
Twain did not have much luck as a gold miner. He left California to travel in
Europe. Twain wrote a book about his trips around Europe.
But the most important influence on
Twain and his books was the Mississippi River. When Twain finally settled down,
he lived in a house with a porch that looked like the deck of a riverboat.
Huckleberry Finn, Twain's greatest book, is about the adventures of a boy on
the Mississippi River. Another of Twain's books is called Life on the
Mississippi. In fact, even the name Mark Twain comes from the Mississippi. Mark
Twain's real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. On the river Samuel Clemens
often heard the boatmen shout "Mark twain!" This meant the water was
twelve feet deep. When Samuel Clemens began to write he chose for himself the
name Mark Twain.