Twain’s relationships with his mentors and rivals was painful and dramatic: he nearly murdered his older brother Orion Clemens; He switched his career role model from a fellow sagebrush comedy writer who shared his bed named Dan DeQuille, to a more famous comedian beloved by Abraham Lincoln named Artemus Ward.
Getting famous and becoming Twain left behind a trail of heartbreak and scandal. Leaving behind Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the Confederate private, in order to embrace progressive modernity was only part of his journey.
The transformation begins in the old west: his first travel book is about hiding from the Civil War in the Nevada Territory… in a boomtown that was hiring an extra newspaperman. Though his writing often drifted into scornful snark, twenty-six year old Sam would do…