About This Book
In England, during the final years of the reign of Henry the Eighth, Tom
Canty is born on the same day as the king's only son but under
a much less auspicious star. During their boyhood, they meet by chance
and Amazing! They could be twins! Prince Edward is intrigued;
they change clothes; a mischance separates them. Because of the resulting
mistakes in identity, each boy must follow the other's path for a while,
and that is a revelation to each of them.
Told with Twain's warmth and charm, this book is good reading. (Young
adults and even youngsters will enjoy it, too, partly because of the the
age of the main characters.) The story is especially interesting because
each boy is handled in such a sympathetic manner. There is no real villain
in this book, except the conditions of the society they both live in.
About Mark Twain ( Samuel Langhorne Clemens )
Sam Clemens, a native of Missouri, lived and worked along the Mississippi
River as a young man. With not much formal schooling, he was apprenticed
to a printer, and as a young man he worked as a printer and a newspaper
writer. He enjoyed a short but successful career as a riverboat pilot
(a highly respectable position), and after a brief stint in the militia
during the Civil War, he joined his brother in Nevada and resumed writing
this time as free-lance writer and columnist.
It was during this
interval that he began using the pen name of Mark Twain, taking from his
riverboat days a term which meant "two fathoms deep" a safe depth.
His first book, a collection of stories titled, "The Celebrated Jumping
Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches," was published in 1867. His
second, "Innocents Abroad," written after a trip to Europe and the Middle
East, appeared in 1869. It sold well and made him an established writer
by the time he was 35 years old. The following year, in 1870, he married
Mark Twain produced other entertaining travel books in the same vein:
"Roughing it" in 1872, "A Tramp Abroad" in 1880, and "Following the
Equator" in 1897, but it is for his novels that he is most known. His
best work was done beginning in 1876, with "Tom Sawyer." It was followed
by "The Prince and the Pauper," in 1880, "Life on the Mississippi,"
describing his river-pilot days, then the admirably realized "Huckleberry
Finn," in 1884, and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,"
But Twain was a far better writer than he was a businessman, and in 1893,
at about the time that "Pudd'nhead Wilson" was published, a series of
disastrous business deals forced him into bankruptcy. Although with
hard work he was able to repay all his debts, the effort told on his
writing. The sadness that resulted from the deaths of his daughter,
and then his brother and a sister, followed by the death of his wife a
few years later, gave the work of his final years a bleaker tone, and
it was less successful. Overall, however, he stands as one of America's
most popular writers and humorists.