by Michael Shelden
I so enjoy our 19th century literature, and this book focuses on the last decade of Twain’s life, after his persona was fully formed and he was truly an American character. You know you love Twain, but did you know that he only started wearing the white suit after a Congressional hearing on copyright? It embarrassed his entire family for ever after. The winter man’s “costume” was a staid black suit, but he wanted to make a statement with his attire at the hearing, and he did. Afterward, he adopted the suit and later, an Oxford don’s garb to express himself.
He also reminds me a lot of the Michael Jackson phenomenon, only on a 19th century scale. He loved children, especially little girls, and had a collection of “Angelfish” in his “Aquarium.” After a very loving marriage and raising 3 daughters, I’m convinced, as is the author, that the relationships he built with these young women were innocent. However, the relationship with his housekeeper (who later married his smarmy financial advisor) is less suspect. They really tried to screw him. I’m about 2/3 or more through the book, and I’d highly recommend it for a fascinating read. I’ve been glued to it for a week, and I’m starting to get abnormally concerned for the long-dead Mark.