"Williams does a masterful job... A real treat that deserves to be in every public library." - Library Journal
“The pictures alone are worth the modest price… this is a good, lighthearted history and well worth a look.” – True West
“The author recounts many little-known events in Twain’s formative years.” – Booklist
“Williams’ book is filled with excerpts, photographs, maps and running commentary as the author directs us to Twain’s old haunts.” - San Francisco Chronicle
Here is a handy, easy to read guide to Mark Twain’s haunts in the West, 1861-68. Author Georg J. Williams III leads you to the places where Mark Twain lived and wrote. Williams gives road directions to historic sites and provides lots of historic photographs of the places where Twain lived and the people he knew.
Though Americans generally associate Mark Twain with Tom Sawyer and the Mississippi River, Samuel Clemens began his serious writing career as a reporter at Virginia City, Nevada in 1862. Contrary to Clemens’ well told story about his curious pen name “Mark Twain,” the pseudonym had nothing to do with life on the river and more to do with Twain’s drinking habits in the West. Having lost his job as a Mississippi steamboat pilot, in August, 1861 Sam Clemens left Missouri for Nevada Territory. For a year he prospected at several mining camps trying to strike it rich. While prospecting at Aurora, Nevada near Yosemite National Park, Clemens wrote a series of humorous letters about the miner’s life and mailed them to the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. Impressed, editor Joe Goodman offered Clemens a job as reporter. Four months later Clemens was writing as “Mark Twain.” Twain’s Enterprise writings attracted wide attention on the Pacific Coast and helped establish him as a notorious West Coast writer and personality.
After twenty-one months as a reporter, Twain moved on to San Francisco where he found work as a reporter and free-lance writer. He went broke and headed for Jackass Hill in the Sierra foothills near Angel’s Camp. There Twain discovered the famous “Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Twain’s version launched his international career.
Author George J. Williams III is an authority on Mark Twain’s Western Years. He is the author of the Mark Twain in the West Series which includes this book, Mark Twain: His Adventures at Aurora and Mono Lake: Mark Twain: His Life in Virginia City, Nevada; and Mark Twain: Jackass Hill and the Jumping Frog. His book, Mark Twain: His Life in Virginia City, Nevada, was selected as a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters. His newest book, In the Last of the Wild West, is the true story of the murders of brothel prostitutes in Storey County, Nevada, and the cover-up by county and State officials.