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Extended Audio Sample Roughing It Audiobook, by Mark Twain Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.85 out of 53.85 out of 53.85 out of 53.85 out of 53.85 out of 5 3.85 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Twain Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9781452670454
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Originally published over one hundred years ago, Roughing It is Mark Twain’s second major work, after the success of his 1869 travel book, Innocents Abroad. This humorous travel book, based on Twain’s stagecoach journey through the American West and his adventures in the Pacific islands, is full of colorful caricatures of outlandish locals and detailed sketches of frontier life. Roughing It describes how the narrator, a polite greenhorn from the East, is initiated into the rough-and-tumble society of the frontier. He works his way through Nevada, California, and the Pacific islands as a prospector, journalist, and lecturer, and along the way he meets a number of colorful characters.

Wonderfully entertaining, Twain successfully finds humor in spite of his mishaps while also giving the listener insight into that time and place of American history.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 2/19/2014

    " Loved Twain's style and wit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 2/18/2014

    " Great book about the wild west. I'd love it more if it were tainted with that era's disdain for Native Americans. Plus his long narrative about Hawaii gets to be a bit much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bradley T krist | 2/12/2014

    " This book could be named Fear and Loathing in the old west. 1870's Gonzo "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Holmes | 2/11/2014

    " Fascinating portraits of the American West circa 1860's. Often the truth of the times becomes more apparent by exaggeration. We also learn much about the man that became Mark Twain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tawnni | 2/3/2014

    " Three and a half "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sharlie | 1/31/2014

    " Has an interesting account of coming accross the Mormon pioneers and the perception Mark Twain had of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Jean | 1/29/2014

    " It is a testament to Mark Twain's wit that the humor in this book stands the test of time. He is the consummate American voice, and even if his sentence-by-sentence execution isn't stunning, he might one of the best storytellers that ever lived. I am still a huge fan. Sometimes I wish we could just sit on the back porch and smoke cigars until the sun goes down and the mosquitoes get us for being lazy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Irene | 1/25/2014

    " Too detailed, too descriptive, but interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Macy White | 1/24/2014

    " Twain chronicles his great (non-fiction) seven year romp through "the west" with keen language, fascinating detail and laugh out loud humor. It has the energy and a similar structure to "On the Road", which surprised me, but shows how much Kerouac was influenced by Twain. The book gives a really great journalistic sense of what it might have been like to adventure around in "the west": from stage coach trips, to silver and gold mining in Nevada and California, the character portraits and insights are really wonderful to behold. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 1/19/2014

    " Twain's Roughing It is probably my favorite Mark Twain Book. As one might expect with Twain, the line between fact and folly is sometimes difficult to discern. The book is based on his travel across the mid-19th century western United States. Highlights include his mining experience, his purchase of a "genuine Mexican plug," and his near-death experience and subsequent abstinence from tobacco. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 1/16/2014

    " Lot's of great stories in here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie Broadway | 1/15/2014

    " it's really funny...so far "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 1/15/2014

    " Wonderfully accurate descriptions of Northern Nevada (Washoe) and the Eastern Sierra, hilarious adventures, not to mention one of the first books about the Hawaiian Islands -- it really is an entire little book, and it's perfect. Yes, Mark Twain was one of the first white men to surf. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam | 1/14/2014

    " Not Twain's best, but he's always entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cory | 1/12/2014

    " If you like travel books with humor, this is a good book for you. It is disjointed in places, but overall, vivid imagery mixed with Train's penchant for sly exaggeration make this a fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Camille Cusumano | 12/30/2013

    " Still hilarious after all these years. This book is a great companion for travel around the American West. You'll love reading his riffs on Mono Lake, San Francisco, Nevada, and other places out West. Twain's humor has an impressively long shelf life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 12/11/2013

    " Oh my gosh...I laughed until my sides ached most evenings as I read Twain's hilarious tale of his travels out west. Perhaps the funniest scene I've ever read in fiction involves a little matter about a horse.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trisha Barnes | 11/28/2013

    " Once again Mark Twain delivers his tounge-in-cheek cynical descriptions of life in the west. His observations of people and their behaviors are timeless, and his description of his trip to the Hawaiian Islands is a lot like the one I had -- on Maui I was too busy relaxing to write anything either. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 11/21/2013

    " It's another Twain travelogue. Can't be surprising that I love these - the glorious combination of another era's non-fiction + complete bullshit. It isn't "Life on the Mississippi," but I'd have added another half-star if I could. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 11/5/2013

    " Like renewing an old friendship... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 WM Rine | 10/26/2013

    " Like many of Twain's books, it's a meandering journey, but it's funny from front to back and absolutely brilliant. One of Twain's best and one of the greatest works of American literature from the 19th century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judi | 10/14/2013

    " This is my favorite book by Mark Twain. It is autobiographical on the time he spent in the Western United States (Nevada and California) and Hawaii. I love his tales of Virginia City, Carson City, the Eastern Sierra and San Francisco. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 9/14/2013

    " This is a semi-fictionalized autobiographical account of Twain's time in the West. Full of sarcasm and exaggeration it still bears some relevancy to today. And if that fails it can be funny as hell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ted Witt | 5/3/2013

    " For some reason, Roughing It was not as funny as when I read it in high school. I chalk this up to me being more cynical than I was at 16. Still, good ol' Sam Clemens can turn a phrase. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 1/22/2013

    " A bit uneven. Some parts were pretty funny. Some parts dragged. A fascinating snapshot of American history, humanity, attitudes and anecdotes from the 1860's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy Gimma | 11/24/2012

    " Regarded (by Twain) as the first book about the "far west" in the United States by someone who was there. Great so far. Twain before he was polished, so its rough, and still hilarious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dixie Diamond | 10/31/2012

    " (With the obvious assumption that you never take anything Twain wrote as historical fact . . .) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darel | 10/7/2012

    " Clemens ride from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA in a carriage loaded with more mail than a person can ever read. It is typical Twain-esque feel relays a harsher time before highways and hotels. Thoreau had nothing on this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fredrick Danysh | 9/2/2012

    " Mark Twain traveled to the American West as a young man. This is his humerous account of the six years in Nevada, California, and the Sandwich Islands and is full of personal antedotes and tall tales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aramie | 8/19/2012

    " How can you not enjoy the satire of Mark Twain? Good book, but I must say that I took his jabs at the early Mormon settlers a little bit personally. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy Gimma | 6/16/2012

    " Regarded (by Twain) as the first book about the "far west" in the United States by someone who was there. Great so far. Twain before he was polished, so its rough, and still hilarious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher Roberts | 4/22/2012

    " Twain's portrayal of the American frontier is one part memoir, one part tall tale, and all hilarious. It is worth reading just for his story about meeting Brigham Young. While so many American writers wax poetic about this time in our history, Twain takes it back down to earth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patti | 3/5/2012

    " Mark Twain's change of perspective after meeting Mormon women is one of the funniest things I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 2/16/2012

    " We have this on tape, and until the demise of the tape player, listened to it over and over again - it never gets old - and I can't tell you how many contemporary situations seem to have sprung from its pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zac Stewart | 2/6/2012

    " Sometimes this book felt long-winded and dragged on, but it has some gems that make it worth the while. Particularly it was interesting to me to get a perspective of the early days of American involvement in Hawaii. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick\ | 12/27/2011

    " And fun doing it. I like. Novel? Memoir? Autobiography? You pick. Can't be too certain with Twain. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 12/11/2011

    " Mark Twain is an amazing author. His novels are so funny, yet informative. I can't believe we didn't get to read these novels instead of the less amusing ones. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tiffany | 11/27/2011

    " The Story of The Old Ram is best part of the whole book -- and you can read that in most Twain short story anthologies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Douglas | 8/10/2011

    " It's a bit dis-jointed at parts, but I think that was partially me falling asleep for bits "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 5/29/2011

    " I have to admit, I know I read this. I know I kind of liked it. I don't remember a damned thing about it. How embarrassing! "

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About the Author
Author Mark Twain

Mark Twain, pseudonym of Samuel L. Clemens (1835–1910), was born in Florida, Missouri, and grew up in Hannibal on the west bank of the Mississippi River. He attended school briefly and then at age thirteen became a full-time apprentice to a local printer. When his older brother Orion established the Hannibal Journal, Samuel became a compositor for that paper and then, for a time, an itinerant printer. With a commission to write comic travel letters, he traveled down the Mississippi. Smitten with the riverboat life, he signed on as an apprentice to a steamboat pilot. After 1859, he became a licensed pilot, but two years later the Civil War put an end to the steam-boat traffic.

In 1861, he and his brother traveled to the Nevada Territory where Samuel became a writer for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and there, on February 3, 1863, he signed a humorous account with the pseudonym Mark Twain. The name was a river man’s term for water “two fathoms deep” and thus just barely safe for navigation.

In 1870 Twain married and moved with his wife to Hartford, Connecticut. He became a highly successful lecturer in the United States and England, and he continued to write.

About the Narrator

Peter Berkrot, a forty-year veteran of stage and screen, was the director of narration for the Emmy-nominated The Truth about Cancer. He has voiced over three hundred audiobook titles, winning six Earphones Awards, a 2012 Audie Award nomination, and a 2016 Audie Award. He has appeared in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Loosies and played Angie D’Annunzio in Caddyshack.