"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain Within your hands is a glimpse into the life, mind, soul, and "truth" of cherished American icon, Mark Twain. This uncensored autobiography is not only a legacy he left behind, but also a gift to all. Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri. He grew up on the shores of the Mississippi River and took his pen name from the way Mississippi steamboat crews measured the river's depth (the cry "Mark twain!" meant the river was at least 12 feet deep and safe to travel). Twain wrote prolifically, publishing novels, travelogues, newspaper articles, short stories, and political pamphlets. His best-known works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). On the surface, these novels are gripping adventure stories of boys running free on the Mississippi. However, on a deeper level, these novels are also serious works of social criticism. Written while America was still recovering from the Civil War and adjusting to the abolition of slavery, Twain's two best-known Mississippi River adventure tales also measure the depth of America's new economic and social realities. His most personal and insightful writing came when he created his, "Final (and Right) Plan"-a free-flowing biography of the thoughts and interests he had toward the end of his life as he spoke his "whole frank mind". Along with the plan, came the instruction that the enclosed autobiography writings not be published in book form until 100 years after his death. Today, we honor the life and writings of Mark Twain by publishing his personal opus-to reacquaint ourselves with the wit, wisdom, and ideals of this legendary American icon.