Hailed by the New York Herald as “an oasis in the desert of works on foreign travel,” The Innocents Abroad was a great success when first published, and it remained the bestselling of all Twain’s works throughout his lifetime. It shows the author at the height of his literary power as he records razor-sharp, often hilarious, observations of the people he meets and places he visits during a trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867.
Originally a series of travel letters written for a San Francisco newspaper, the book presents a refreshingly honest and vivid view of such places as Tangier, Marseilles, Gibraltar, Rome, Constantinople, and Damascus. Twain’s humor takes a particularly satirical turn toward tourists who rely on travel guidebooks rather than personal impressions to define their travel experiences. The book alternates light-hearted chapters with serious passages involving history, statistics, and descriptions of religious relics, artwork, and architecture.
From amusements and tribulations at sea, viewing the “outrageous” cancan in Paris, and witnessing the notable sights of Venice, to observing the grandeur of St. Peter’s, ascending Vesuvius, and contemplating the remains of Solomon’s Temple, this classic will delight a wide audience, including longtime fans of the American humorist and anyone who enjoys an entertaining and enlightening travel book. This edition also includes all the illustrations from the original publication.