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Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 09:11:44 -0600
text/plain (62 lines)
I concur with Martin's suggestion and for the same reasons. If you want a 
more detailed answer you can read my reviews for both of those books in the 
Mark Twain Forum review archives.

I would add that the truth of the matter regarding Twain's last years is 
probably somewhere in between what is depicted in Shelden's book and Ham 
Hill's earlier work. Twain's spirit may have been unsinkable but that does 
not mean he didn't have lows in his life, especially in the last ten years. 
It was a mixture of private angers, public honors, endless parties and 
dinners and speeches, fewer sustained writings except when ranting, and rave 

Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at:

-----Original Message----- 
From: Martin Zehr
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 8:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Best Twain Biography

I'd recommend Michael Shelden's *Mark Twain: Man in White; The Grand
Adventure of His Final Years*, in conjunction with Ron Powers' great
one-volume biography.  Shelden's book is a great complement to Powers' bio,
in my opinion, because (1) the last decade of Twain's life is the weakest
part of Powers's book and (2) Shelden's very well-researched book provides
a detailed look at this period of Twain's life, when he was an
international celebrity, and a much different picture of Twain in this
period than depicted in prior scholarship, e.g., Hamlin Hill's *Mark Twain:
God's Fool.*
Martin Zehr

On Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 9:55 PM, Tim Esh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Sorry for spamming your inboxs, but perhaps the third time (from my other
> email account) is the trick.
> I=E2=80=99m designing an advanced undergraduate seminar on Mark Twain. I
> wa=
> nt to
> include a critical biography, and after some research, I am currently
> considering assigning the 2005 Ron Powers biography _Mark Twain: A Life_.
> I=E2=80=99m curious what biographies others recommend (and perhaps why).
> Thanks,
> Tim
> P.S. Oddly, my messages made it onto the form archives without
> transmogrification into gibberish. <
> l&T=3D0&P=3D724=
> 5>