Following the Equator

PDF EBook by Mark Twain

EBook Description

If anybody tells you Mark Twain wasn't a liberal, find this book, put it in your posession and read every other chapter outloud to that person. Following the Equator PDF EBook Written rather late in his life (1891 or so), this is Twain's nonfiction account of a trip on a passenger ship around the equator. He writes a chapter describing a comic incident aboard ship and then the next chapter is a sober indictment of man's inhumanity to man. The chapters on Australia are most telling. He sees the Australia's treatment of Aboriginal peoples very much the same way he saw the American slave system. It offends his very being.
He describes the dinners given in his honor, the luxury afforded him and the good luck which accompanies him as he tours Australia and New Zealand. Mayors of small and large towns want to be photographed with him, people toast him. He travels in the fastest trains. Indeed, he marvels at the technology allowing him all this. But suddenly, as in one chapter in which he describes the systematic slaughter of Aborigines, the comic mask is tossed aside, and a man of utmost sensitivity is revealed. For we live in a world where one has to be extremely sensitive to notice the horror inflicted by conquerors on the vanquished. FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR makes such sudden shifts from light to darkness as to be shocking.
Twain is still an icon. Picture him in that white suit, with his white hair and white, flowing mustache. Imagine this man coming to your town. Brass bands play before he reaches the lectern. He tells hilarious stories, makes great comebacks when people try to show how comic they themselves are and he even smokes cigars with those who'll smoke with him. His train moves on. Several weeks later you read his article about your town. He says funny things you know are true. Suddenly, he refers to a little set of shacks he's seen from the train. You hadn't known he'd seen them. He describes the desperation of the people inhabiting them. He says your country put them in those shacks. He says his country has done that, too. He wants you to feel as ashamed of this as he is. But he made you laugh, didn't he? Why did he do that? Like this book? Read online this: The Signet Classic Book of Mark Twain's Short Stories, Flight from a Dark Equator.

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