Books: St. Mark on the Islands

MARK TWAIN AND HAWAII (519 pp.)—Walter Francis Frear—Philip Duschnes ($10).

About noon one March Sunday in 1866, a bushy-haired newspaperman stepped ashore at Honolulu from the steamship Ajax. He had recently been fired from the San Francisco Morning Call for "unsatisfactoriness." Now he was in Hawaii to write a series of articles on the islands for the Sacramento Union at $20 an article. He was 30, unknown by his right name (Samuel Clemens) or the name he used on his dispatches (Mark Twain), and his arrival excited no comment.

Mark Twain spent four months...

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