Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend
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Joseph Hopkins Twichell: the Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend

Critical Acclaim for Joseph Hopkins Twichell

Steve Courtney has, incredibly, accomplished the herculean task of bringing Twichell out of the shadows of Twain, rendering a well-researched, fact-based portrait of this individual whose life experience and character effectively destroy the serio-comic descriptions of Harris in A Tramp Abroad. Long live Joseph Hopkins Twichell."
—Martin Zehr, The Mark Twain Forum
"If the most revealing biographies of Mark Twain had to be restricted to one shelf, Steve Courtney's new biography of Twain's best friend ought to be among them . . . The inner Twain shines through in ways it fails to in much of his fiction."
—Steve Goddard, Steve Goddard's History Wire
"Steve Courtney has ably mined all the available sources, including his subject's journal, sermons, books and letters. A longtime writer and editor for The Courant, Courtney brings a wealth of local knowledge and obvious passion to the task. ...Courtney paints an engaging and thoroughly researched portrait of a man who, although born 170 years ago, seems modern in so many ways. His ecumenical and social inclusiveness was well ahead of his era."
"Steve Courtney's Joseph Hopkins Twichell is both comprehensive and compulsively readable. Herein find the Rev. Joseph Twichell, a man in full: New England son, Civil War chaplain, advocate of children, and best friend of America's favorite manchild, mischievous Mark Twain. Courtney illuminates Twichell, his era, and the foundations of our own."
— Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
"Courtney's book is well researched, illuminating, and a pleasure to read—sprightly, engaging. It is a significant biography of an overlooked but important figure. It should be of interest not only to recorders of Hartford but to Twain critics, religious studies scholars, and cultural historians."
—Leland Krauth, author of Mark Twain & Company: Six Literary Relations
"Courtney's work on Joe Twichell fills a large void in the Twain world. The tale of the man who was Mark Twain's friend, confidante, and confessor is long overdue. Courtney's years as a journalist are evident in this book. Meticulously researched, it is also a joy to read because like Twain, he tells a good story."
—Debra Petke, Executive Director, The Mark Twain House & Museum
"Courtney shows that there is much more to be made of Joseph Hopkins Twichell than his relationship with Twain, and that there is a great deal of interest for readers outside the world of Twain studies. Twichell was a kind of real-life, nineteenth-century Zelig, turning up in all sorts of interesting places. His life is documented by an extraordinary collection of sources, including a wonderful diary, many scrapbooks, and an outstanding collection of letters, showing that Twichell, far from being a simple foil for Twain, was a man of independence and adventure."
—Andrew Walsh, Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College

Twain and Harris from 'A Tramp Abroad'
An illustration from A Tramp Abroad of Harris (Twichell's alter-ego) and Mark Twain.(Image from Project Gutenberg)