Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Became Mark Twain

TUE, APR 13, 2010 (49:04)

Roy Morris, Jr. discusses his new book, Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Became Mark Twain. Mark Twain is arguably the most famous and influential writer in American history. His legacy is defined by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Little is known, however, about the crucial years during which Samuel Clemens transformed himself into the beloved American writer we celebrate today as Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens traveled by stagecoach to the Wild West in 1861 as an ex-Confederate guerilla and unemployed riverboat pilot, and returned six years later as Mark Twain. Lighting Out for the Territory tells how Samuel Clemens reinvented himself, while evading Indians and gunslingers, failing as a miner, dodging duels, surfing in Hawaii, and more trouble along the way. Backed by solid scholarship, this is the first full-length study of Twain’s life-changing time in the American West, where he began his writing career and shaped himself into an American favorite.

+ BIO: Roy Morris Jr.

Roy Morris Jr., is the editor of Military Heritage magazine and the author of four books on the Civil War and post-Civil War eras, including Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876, which the Wall Street Journal hailed as “bravely nonconformist and greatly entertaining”; The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War, which the New York Times praised as “a thrilling narrative told with empathy and vast learning”; and Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company, which the Washington Post called “a rousingly good life.” Roy Morris lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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