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Magnificent collection of Mark Twain's topical writings, mainly and most eloquently concerned with the themes of social justice, the American Civilization Magnificent collection of Mark Twain's topical writings, mainly and most eloquently concerned with the themes of social justice, the American Civilization


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Magnificent collection of Mark Twain's topical writings, mainly and most eloquently concerned with the themes of social justice, the American Civilization Magnificent collection of Mark Twain's topical writings, mainly and most eloquently concerned with the themes of social justice, the American Civilization

30 review for On the Damned Human Race

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob Newman

    a critic before his time Mark Twain is known all over the world as a down-to-earth humorist and teller of tales. His adventures have attracted readers ever since they were published. I certainly liked "Tom Sawyer", " "Huckleberry Finn", "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", "Innocents Abroad", and "Roughing It". All these are classic American works which I could recommend to anyone. But many people, accustomed to his humor and down-home attitudes, may not realize that Samuel Clemens wrot a critic before his time Mark Twain is known all over the world as a down-to-earth humorist and teller of tales. His adventures have attracted readers ever since they were published. I certainly liked "Tom Sawyer", " "Huckleberry Finn", "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", "Innocents Abroad", and "Roughing It". All these are classic American works which I could recommend to anyone. But many people, accustomed to his humor and down-home attitudes, may not realize that Samuel Clemens wrote a lot of bitter criticism of his own country and his own species. At a time when Europeans and Americans breathed religion (Christianity) and believed that the white man was destined to rule the world, thereby spawning ugly colonial/imperial wars, Mark Twain said 'no'. It took guts, and it took an independent mind. Today his writings on such subjects may seem merely politically correct. His critique of imperialism, wars, racism, corruption and organized religion has been duplicated so often that what was radical then may seem humdrum today. So much has the general attitude changed. But if you want to admire a man who dared to fly in the face of national, popular opinion when he could have basked in his deserved fame, you ought to read this book of excerpts from his many articles, letters, and books. Condemning the Tsarist rule in Russia, speaking out against the Belgian atrocities in the Congo, the American massacres in the Philippines, the Boer War, and Southern lynching are only a few of the topics you'll find here. I wonder if, even today, his writings are taught in high schools in America. They should be. Some of the excerpts here can be a bit preachy or long-winded, but in general Mark Twain hits the bullseye every time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle--be Thou near them! With them--in spirit--we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes w "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle--be Thou near them! With them--in spirit--we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it--for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him who is the Source of Love, and who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen." (67)

  3. 5 out of 5

    John

    A series of letters, essays, and rants from his autobiography about the Boer War, King Leopold's bloody rule of the Congo, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine insurrection, slavery in various forms, the British Empire, Russia, England, lynching, and the Boxer Rebellion in China. Also, he discusses the causes of indifference, racism, conformity, and moral cowardice. Twain, however, admits sharing many of the weaknesses of the human race. Most of these events are not common knowledge, at least A series of letters, essays, and rants from his autobiography about the Boer War, King Leopold's bloody rule of the Congo, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine insurrection, slavery in various forms, the British Empire, Russia, England, lynching, and the Boxer Rebellion in China. Also, he discusses the causes of indifference, racism, conformity, and moral cowardice. Twain, however, admits sharing many of the weaknesses of the human race. Most of these events are not common knowledge, at least to Americans, but the introductions explain these events well. Mark Twain in top form, raising Cain about injustice in all its forms, and much of it never before published in book form, or at all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    This is a collection of Mark Twain's lesser known essays that cover the charter of man. It is entertaining in places and can provoke thought in the reader. The editor has written a piece that discusses how Twain's work has been protrayed thoughout the world over the last century. This is a collection of Mark Twain's lesser known essays that cover the charter of man. It is entertaining in places and can provoke thought in the reader. The editor has written a piece that discusses how Twain's work has been protrayed thoughout the world over the last century.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Gowan

    Mark Twain is one of the few heroes that I have. In this not-so popular Twain book, he is in top form. No one is spared the rod. Starting with the human race in general, he focuses on the United States, on the Jews, on the white race, and on Russia to name a few. Twain's talent lies in his ability to joke his way through some serious issues (as G. Bernard Shaw comments on the back cover of the book) and he does a superb job in this collection of iconoclastic essays. Mark Twain is one of the few heroes that I have. In this not-so popular Twain book, he is in top form. No one is spared the rod. Starting with the human race in general, he focuses on the United States, on the Jews, on the white race, and on Russia to name a few. Twain's talent lies in his ability to joke his way through some serious issues (as G. Bernard Shaw comments on the back cover of the book) and he does a superb job in this collection of iconoclastic essays.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Oh the nature of man. What a sad state of consciousness we have been reminded of by Mr. Twain. But most will continue in its fallacy. And sadly we will continue as the "Lower Animal" status explained in this essay. The twisted "Moral Sense" described by Twain must stop and be turned to its proper form. Can man do it? Oh the nature of man. What a sad state of consciousness we have been reminded of by Mr. Twain. But most will continue in its fallacy. And sadly we will continue as the "Lower Animal" status explained in this essay. The twisted "Moral Sense" described by Twain must stop and be turned to its proper form. Can man do it?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I always appreciate Mark Twain's work, and this collection was interesting too. If you like any of his observations of people, you'll enjoy this one too though it is a little darker than some of his other work. I always appreciate Mark Twain's work, and this collection was interesting too. If you like any of his observations of people, you'll enjoy this one too though it is a little darker than some of his other work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stevie

    I sure love Mark Twain. I had already read most of his writing in this book, it just has some commentary between essays. I didn't really need that but the parts he wrote were freaking brilliant no matter how many times it is read. I do not want to hold individuals in too high regard because everyone has their faults and may let you down the more you learn about them. However, I want a Mark Twain tattoo. I hope it wouldn't creep him out. Maybe, I won't get one after all. I don't want to let him d I sure love Mark Twain. I had already read most of his writing in this book, it just has some commentary between essays. I didn't really need that but the parts he wrote were freaking brilliant no matter how many times it is read. I do not want to hold individuals in too high regard because everyone has their faults and may let you down the more you learn about them. However, I want a Mark Twain tattoo. I hope it wouldn't creep him out. Maybe, I won't get one after all. I don't want to let him down if I ever run in to him. Hooray, for Mark Twain!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    We all believe man is the highest animal but after reading this am rethinking that perspective. Of course we have a mind, we think, we have laws and consciousness but animals neither have them yet they the lowest animals. Animals have proven to be smarter than man and this analysis in the book make you concur. Man is miserly and avaricious. Man is the only one who harbors insults, injuries and takes revenge. Man keep harems but forcefully and has invented indecency, vulgarity and obscenity. Man We all believe man is the highest animal but after reading this am rethinking that perspective. Of course we have a mind, we think, we have laws and consciousness but animals neither have them yet they the lowest animals. Animals have proven to be smarter than man and this analysis in the book make you concur. Man is miserly and avaricious. Man is the only one who harbors insults, injuries and takes revenge. Man keep harems but forcefully and has invented indecency, vulgarity and obscenity. Man with his spoiled mind covers himself and he blushes too. Man is the cruel animal that gathers his brethren and goes to war, he is the only slave and animal that robs others of their possessions. He is patriot and sets his nation apart and snares at other nations. Moreover, he is religious with the true religion and has been with it since he saw the light. Mark goes on to explain that man is incurably foolish and cannot learn neither can he reason. He uses his moral sense to his advantage all for degradation purposes. Think you can convince Twain otherwise?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Roth

    Brilliant. Incandescent. Reads like something written today about what happened in the news yesterday. No one in American letters had the same combination of scorching wit and deep unwavering moral clarity. He had the loudest and most unerring bullshit detector in history; he was ALLERGIC to bullshit, and his allergic symptom was instantaneous rage and brilliance. He grew up amid the most brutal violence and hypocrisy and superstition, but through sheer humanity and intelligence he managed to di Brilliant. Incandescent. Reads like something written today about what happened in the news yesterday. No one in American letters had the same combination of scorching wit and deep unwavering moral clarity. He had the loudest and most unerring bullshit detector in history; he was ALLERGIC to bullshit, and his allergic symptom was instantaneous rage and brilliance. He grew up amid the most brutal violence and hypocrisy and superstition, but through sheer humanity and intelligence he managed to diagnose the rotten core of all that's wrong with America and humanity, and he did so even when the whole world disagreed with him. He is the Boss. Period.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tony duncan

    What can I say. this is brilliant. Mark Twain at his most acerbic cynical hysterical self. Little gems, like Jews "too were part of the human race, and worse he could say about no man) A series of unconnected pieces that twain wrote about American and he world and his view of humanity form the 1860's through his death. I n spite of 8 years of Bush it gives some hope that there has been progress What can I say. this is brilliant. Mark Twain at his most acerbic cynical hysterical self. Little gems, like Jews "too were part of the human race, and worse he could say about no man) A series of unconnected pieces that twain wrote about American and he world and his view of humanity form the 1860's through his death. I n spite of 8 years of Bush it gives some hope that there has been progress

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I would've enjoyed this more if the editor's commentary in this particular edition had been confined to a specific area of the book rather than being so heavily interspersed through Twain's writing. I would've enjoyed this more if the editor's commentary in this particular edition had been confined to a specific area of the book rather than being so heavily interspersed through Twain's writing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chambers Stevens

    The Dark side of Twain.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Only got through about three of the essays. Maybe I'd be more interested if I had a better grounding in the history of the time...but I didn't much like Twain's style here either. Only got through about three of the essays. Maybe I'd be more interested if I had a better grounding in the history of the time...but I didn't much like Twain's style here either.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Danny Reid

    Contains some great, insightful excerpts from Twain's deep body of work, both admitting to his flaws. It does this while pointing out how prescient he was in regards to the country's nascent imperial ambitions. My big beef with the book is the typography, which often juggles between three sizes to indicate a quote from Twain, a quote from another analysis or the authors own. But they just changed Times New Roman by one point and expected the reader to always to be able to pick up on the differen Contains some great, insightful excerpts from Twain's deep body of work, both admitting to his flaws. It does this while pointing out how prescient he was in regards to the country's nascent imperial ambitions. My big beef with the book is the typography, which often juggles between three sizes to indicate a quote from Twain, a quote from another analysis or the authors own. But they just changed Times New Roman by one point and expected the reader to always to be able to pick up on the differences. This can lead to some very frustrated moments where you think you're reading one person speaking and it's someone else completely. This book could use a clean-up and reediting, but I think it would still surprise many people today with its relevance.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alan Cook

    Mark Twain had a lot of unpopular opinions, and he was often criticized for them. He was born in 1835, before the slaves were freed, but he didn't like slavery. He didn't like lynching. He didn't like the United States getting involved in foreign wars in countries that were not a threat to the U.S. Too bad he isn't around now, since we are in a state of perpetual warfare against countries that are not a threat to us. Twain doesn't like corruption in government, or in other areas such as religion Mark Twain had a lot of unpopular opinions, and he was often criticized for them. He was born in 1835, before the slaves were freed, but he didn't like slavery. He didn't like lynching. He didn't like the United States getting involved in foreign wars in countries that were not a threat to the U.S. Too bad he isn't around now, since we are in a state of perpetual warfare against countries that are not a threat to us. Twain doesn't like corruption in government, or in other areas such as religion. He traveled widely and observed the human race doing bad things everywhere. However, he always kept his sense of humor, such as when he wrote "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," which many Brits didn't like.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric Susak

    At one point, the narrator that prefaces all excerpts of Twain's writing mentions that Twain wrote for his peers. He creates a dialogue between himself and his society, has a casualness that endeared him to his readers. However, the society he wrote to has been gone for 100 years. This is where I had the most trouble with this book. It has been decontextualized by time and place. While some of his wit and criticism of how we act remain relevant, his punchiness has lost its touch because there is At one point, the narrator that prefaces all excerpts of Twain's writing mentions that Twain wrote for his peers. He creates a dialogue between himself and his society, has a casualness that endeared him to his readers. However, the society he wrote to has been gone for 100 years. This is where I had the most trouble with this book. It has been decontextualized by time and place. While some of his wit and criticism of how we act remain relevant, his punchiness has lost its touch because there is no one he knows left to punch.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James Swenson

    A collection of Twain's essays on humans' cruelty to humanity: for example, protests in his characteristic style against the U.S. invasion of the Philippines, or King Leopold's exploitation of the Congo, or the riches of the church in impoverished Italy. His famous War Prayer is included, as well as the remark of which this volume's title is an echo: "We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents." A collection of Twain's essays on humans' cruelty to humanity: for example, protests in his characteristic style against the U.S. invasion of the Philippines, or King Leopold's exploitation of the Congo, or the riches of the church in impoverished Italy. His famous War Prayer is included, as well as the remark of which this volume's title is an echo: "We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I was looking for a short book to read while waiting for one to arrive at my local library. I found this one on my bookshelf and saw I had finished reading it many years ago but have no desire to read it again, mostly because of the small print and the font with serifs.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Herb Hastings

    These essays are as important today as they were the day they were written; perhaps, even more.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Arruda

    Twain's more pessimistic analyses. Sarcastic and savage and sharp. Twain's more pessimistic analyses. Sarcastic and savage and sharp.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rocaab

    The main character is so good like the plot.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Arlan Salo

    And so I find that we have descended and degenerated, from some far ancestor (some microscopic atom wandering at its pleasure between the mighty horizons of a drop of water perchance) insect by insect, animal by animal, reptile by reptile, down the long highway of smirchless innocence, till we have reached the bottom stage of development (nameable as the Human Being). Below us, nothing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim Aker

    This was a fine read. The editor's notes were somtimes a little disruptive, but on the whole it was an outstanding compilation of essays from many unpublished sources marking Twain's contempt for the mendacity and hypocrisy of the race of mankind in general. It is a tour of Twain's acrid wit and laser like insight on the human condition and its foibles. This was a fine read. The editor's notes were somtimes a little disruptive, but on the whole it was an outstanding compilation of essays from many unpublished sources marking Twain's contempt for the mendacity and hypocrisy of the race of mankind in general. It is a tour of Twain's acrid wit and laser like insight on the human condition and its foibles.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    It's been a while since I read this, but I remember enjoying it. The other thing I remember is that some of the situations/events/people that Twain discusses are not well known to people of today. In reading this book you can get a good feel for Twain's opinion on things. It's been a while since I read this, but I remember enjoying it. The other thing I remember is that some of the situations/events/people that Twain discusses are not well known to people of today. In reading this book you can get a good feel for Twain's opinion on things.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dave Peticolas

    A collection of essays by the American master. Twain's brilliant satire and his empathy for human suffering are evident throughout. A collection of essays by the American master. Twain's brilliant satire and his empathy for human suffering are evident throughout.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dr Goodreads

    why too cynical.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    If Twain thought this of man's state then, I can't imagine what he would have to say now. If Twain thought this of man's state then, I can't imagine what he would have to say now.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Brittain

    Chapter 1 -5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lizz

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