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Barbara Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 20:11:22 -0600
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This "Briefly Noted" post is the first of what I hope will be occasional
to the Mark Twain Forum regarding books and other media which merit a brief
mention as opposed to a full and comprehensive book review. Many of these
works owe their stories or plotlines to Twain's influence and will likely be
of interest to Forum subscribers. Items that appear in the "Briefly Noted"
posts and that have not been comprehensively reviewed on the Forum will be
indexed on the Forum website on a new webpage at:


_Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood_ by Stephen Mintz. Hardcover.
464 pages. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0674015088. $29.95.

Mintz uses a Twain motif for his comprehensive study of American childhood.
writes "Much as the raft is carried by raging currents that Huck can only
partly control, so, too, childhood is inevitably shaped and constrained by
society, time and circumstances." The book contains 17 chapters (including a
chapter on children in slavery titled "Growing Up in Bondage"), black and
white photos throughout, end notes and index. Twain is listed on four pages
the index. (NONFICTION)

Amazon link for this book is:


_Who Was Mark Twain?_ by April Jones Prince. Black and white illustrations
John O'Brien. Library binding. 103 pages. Grosset & Dunlap, 2004. ISBN
0448435373. $13.98.

Juvenile biography in the "Who Was...?" series from Grossett & Dunlap. The
book features a whimsical color graphic for the cover; interior
are black and white line drawings. offers the first chapter
as well as a "search inside this book" capability. (JUVENILE BIOGRAPHY)

Amazon link for this book is:



_A Salty Piece of Land_, by Jimmy Buffett. Hardcover. 480 pages. Little and
Brown, 2004. ISBN 0316908452. $27.95

Buffett continues the adventures of his protagonist Tully Mars and his horse
Mr. Twain. Mars and Mr. Twain first appeared in Buffett's _Tales from
Margaritaville_. (FICTION)

Amazon link for this book:


_Fire Bell in the Night: A Western Story_, by Tim Champlin. Hardcover. 270
pages. Thorndike Press, 2004. ISBN 1594140340. $26.95.

The author describes his book as a slightly fictionalized tale of a train
across America by Rudyard Kipling in 1889. Kipling was a great admirer of
Twain and looked him up in Elmira where they spent an afternoon together.
"I've used many of the brash, young Kipling's own words as he voices his
distaste for most things American. Nearly all of Twain's dialogue is quoted
from what Kipling recorded." Kipling and the point of view character have a
harrowing adventure on Jackson's Island early in the story when they are
visiting Twain's boyhood home town. (FICTION)

Amazon link for this book is:

Also by the same author:

_Swift Thunder_, by Tim Champlin. Paperback. 240 pages. Dorchester
Co., 2000. ISBN 0843947586. Also available in hardcover and large print

According to the author, "I've quoted Twain's brief account of meeting a
Express rider as he was crossing the plains by stagecoach. My character is a
Pony Express rider who comes to the aid of a former slave during the
Kansas/Missouri border conflict in 1860." (FICTION)

Amazon link for this book is:


_Mark Twain and Huck Finn Among the Indians_ by Mark Twain and Lee Nelson.
Hardcover. 277 pages. Council Press, 2003. ISBN 1555176801. $18.95.

Another attempt to finish Twain's unfinished novel. Also available in audio
cassette and cd versions in 2004. (FICTION)

Amazon link for this book is:


_My Jim: A Novel_ by Nancy Rawles. Hardcover. 176 pages. Crown Publishers,
2005. ISBN 1400054001. $19.95.

The author draws upon Twain's character of Jim from _Adventures of
Finn_ to create the story of Jim's wife Sadie Watson. The book is written in
slave dialect. (FICTION)

Amazon link for this book is:



_Searching for Jim_ by Terrell Dempsey. Paperback. University of Missouri
Press, 2005. ISBN 0826215939. $24.95. (NONFICTION)

This book was reviewed on the Mark Twain Forum by Shelley Fisher Fishkin on
Jan. 2004. The review is online at:

This softcover edition should be available on February 28, 2005. Students
scholars on a budget can appreciate having this book at the softcover price.

Barbara Schmidt
Book Review Editor, Mark Twain Forum