Twain’s relationships with his mentors and rivals was painful and dramatic: he nearly murdered his older brother, he switched his career role model from a fellow Nevada comedy writer (who shared his bed), to a more famous East Coast comedian beloved by President Lincoln.
While getting famous and becoming Twain, our confused and flawed hero left behind a trail of heartbreak and scandal. Shedding his identity as Samuel Langhorne Clemens the Confederate deserter, in order to embrace progressive modernity was only part of Mark Twain’s journey.
The epic transformation begins in the old west: Twain’s first travel book is about hiding from the Civil War in the Nevada Territory… in a boomtown that was luckily hiring an extra newspaperman. Though his writing often drifted into scornful snark, twenty-six year old Sam would do…