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A Tramp Abroad

Mark Twain

Book Overview: 

A Tramp Abroad is a work of non-fiction travel literature by American author Mark Twain. 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. The term “tramp” is meant as in a “walk-about” and not as in a “bum”.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I do not wish to suggest that the rest of the people there were like me, for, indeed, they were not. Whether it was that they naturally liked that noise, or whether it was that they had learned to like it by getting used to it, I did not at the time know; but they did like it—this was plain enough. While it was going on they sat and looked as rapt and grateful as cats do when one strokes their backs; and whenever the curtain fell they rose to their feet, in one solid mighty multitude, and the air was snowed thick with waving handkerchiefs, and hurricanes of applause swept the place. This was not comprehensible to me. Of course, there were many people there who were not under compulsion to stay; yet the tiers were as full at the close as they had been at the beginning. This showed that the people liked it.

It was a curious sort of a play. In the manner of costumes and scenery it was fine and showy enough; but there was not much action. That is to say, there w. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Fascinating, fraught and hilarious. I'm pretty much besotted by that part of the world anyway and I enjoyed travelling back in time. This is the book which contains the famous essay "The Awful German Language" - read it for that alone - and it relates an episode which will put you off forever fro...more

This is by far my favorite of Twain's works. When you go to Europe you need this book. "Paris and Venice are the two greatest lies ever told." Brilliant. Cause they are. When you read this you must realize that Twain is a sarcastic American debunking all the European myth and glory. Most of what...more

Even after all those years still very amusing.

Haven’t read a book this humorous in quite a while. Highly enjoyable. Twain probably was a bit of an asshole.

I bought this book by mistake in one of those charity shops that make any idle and rainy Saturday in Oxford a treasure hunt.
What I thought I had found was actually "Innocents Abroad" by the same Mark Twain, but somehow the word "tramp" was left out of my raptorous glance.

Well, "A Tramp Abroad"...more

First, I'm glad I've already read The Innocents Abroad, or else at some point I'd have little to no idea what Twain is talking about when he refers to incidents on that trip, which happens occasionally. This seems a slightly more 'serious' book than that, too, which shows me some of the changes (...more

I found a 'part 1' on iBooks and read it in about an hour of a 3 hour plane trip. It was fun, made me laugh in parts. Clements was clearly fascinated by the student dueling culture in Heidelberg at the time, observing the rituals with keen interest and some excitement, I suspect. I'm not sure tha...more

I love Mark Twain, but this is probably my least favorite book of his. There are parts with beautiful descriptions and parts that made me chuckle, but the stories and legends were annoying and felt out of place. My dad and I just wanted it to be over. He kept saying, "I miss Madeleine," referring...more

Funny, but not hilarious. Mostly tongue-in-cheek hyperboles, Mark Twain recounts here his 15-month walking trip through Central Europe and the Alps in 1878-1879. I have only one kind of test for humorous, or supposedly humorous, books: the sound test. Five stars if it made me laugh out loud; four...more

I'd give it 3 and 1/2 stars if that was possible.

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