Roughing It by Mark Twain
Roughing It is a book of semi-autobiographical travel literature by Mark Twain. It was written in 1870–71 and published in 1872, as a prequel to his first travel book The Innocents Abroad (1869). Roughing It is dedicated to Twain’s mining companion Calvin H. Higbie, later a civil engineer who died in 1914.
The book follows the travels of young Mark Twain through the Wild West during the years 1861–1867. After a brief stint as a Confederate cavalry militiaman (not included in the account), he joined his brother Orion Clemens, who had been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory, on a stagecoach journey west. Twain consulted his brother’s diary to refresh his memory and borrowed heavily from his active imagination for many stories in the book.
Roughing It illustrates many of Twain’s early adventures, including a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting, real-estate speculation, a journey to the Kingdom of Hawaii, and his beginnings as a writer. This memoir provides examples of Twain’s rough-hewn humor, which would become a staple of his writing in such later books as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889).