Summary (from Wikipedia): A Tramp Abroad is a work of non-fiction travel literature by American author Mark Twain, published in 1880. The book details a journey by the author, with his friend Harris (a character created for the book, and based on his closest friend, Joseph Twichell), through central and southern Europe. While the stated goal of the journey is to walk most of the way, the men find themselves using other forms of transport as they traverse the continent. The book is often thought to be an unofficial sequel to an earlier Twain travel book, The Innocents Abroad.
As the two men make their way through Germany, the Alps, and Italy, they encounter situations made all the more humorous by their reactions to them. The narrator (Twain) plays the part of the American tourist of the time, believing that he understands all that he sees, but in reality understanding none of it.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read Mark Twain, probably back to Huck Finn in high school. But I’ve now gone through A Tramp Abroad and Life on the Mississippi in a matter of a few days, and am totally reevaluating my thoughts about Twain. He might turn out to be my favorite American writer yet!
The humor in A Tramp Abroad has held up surprisingly well over the years. I found it to be laugh-out-loud funny in a number of places, and absolutely loved his diatribe about the nonsensical assignation of gender to certain German nouns. As a former language student, I could feel his pain through every bit of that hilariously written passage.
If there was one thing I didn’t like about the book, it would probably be the portrayal of all Americans as oafish, rude, and unworldly. I had no idea that negative stereotype of Yankee travelers dated back so far!
I truly enjoyed A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain, not particularly as a travelogue, but more as a humorous series of sketches about odd people and situations encountered while wandering through Europe. This book makes me want to revisit all of Twain’s work, which is why I give it 4 stars out of 5.