Life on the Mississippi

Mark Twain Non-Fiction

Life on the Mississippi


In this special republication of the first edition, more than 300 atmospheric black-and-white illustrations complement the great American humorist’s recollections of his pre–Civil War days as a steamboat pilot. Twain recounts his youthful training, describes the science of navigation on the mercurial river, narrates a passenger trip undertaken years later from St. Louis to New Orleans, and serves a hearty sampling of tall tales.

“Your true pilot cares nothing about anything on earth but the river,” notes Twain, “and his pride in his occupation surpasses the pride of kings.” The author’s commentary sparkles with keen observations on increased competition from railroads, up-and-coming cities along the river, and incidents of greed, gullibility, and other human foibles.

Reprint of the James R. Osgood & Company, Boston, 1883 edition.


The Mark Twain House & Museum is a non-profit institution. All purchases and proceeds go directly into the restoration and upkeep on the historic home.