Customer Reviews for

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Average Rating 3.5
( 273 )
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5 Star

(80)

4 Star

(73)

3 Star

(60)

2 Star

(31)

1 Star

(29)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This book has a unique plot. A great classic.

Mark Twain's book is about a nineteenth century Yankee named Hank who finds himself in Camelot after getting hit on the head. He must immediately fight for his life and find his place in his new world. His resources include his knowledge of the future, an understanding ...
Mark Twain's book is about a nineteenth century Yankee named Hank who finds himself in Camelot after getting hit on the head. He must immediately fight for his life and find his place in his new world. His resources include his knowledge of the future, an understanding of technology and machinery, and a quick wit.
The plot focuses on Hank's attempts to refine the culture and ideas of this early medieval time. I liked the way that events in the story unfolded because it was refreshingly unpredictable and unique. At one point in time, he is posting billboards on knights for advertisement purposes, and later he is lassoing knights from their saddles in a jousting tournament. Although these things may seem silly and off-the-wall, Twain uses interesting, eye-catching language (for instance, when he is describing the castle on page thirty-three, he says, "There was no gas, there were no candles' a bronzed dish half full of boardinghouse butter with a blazing rag floating in it was the thing that produced what was regarded as light"). His description of simple things is still extremely interesting. He provides a deeper message about politics and the oppression of the people.
Although I sincerely enjoyed the plot and Twain's language, I did not like Hank as a character. As he came into power due to his knowledge and understanding, he became conceited. He liked to think of the world around him as a stage; he would do things in a way that would be the most picturesque, instead of in ways that would most easily help himself and the people around him. As an example, Hank, at one point in the novel, chants in a magical language as he is freeing water from a well with an explosion. Twain seems to be teaching a lesson by pointing out the flaws in Hank, but at times his character was annoying to me because of his showy attitude.
Altogether, the book was very enjoyable. My own dislikes as I read the story were few and minor. The story is very well done and deserves to be read if you are looking for a good classic.

posted by 8264919 on May 18, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Reasonable book, recommended.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a fairly non-standard book, not staying within the boundaries of what is usually considered 'normal' literature. Our story takes place, for the most part, in the ancient land of Camelot, where our main character wakes up fr...
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a fairly non-standard book, not staying within the boundaries of what is usually considered 'normal' literature. Our story takes place, for the most part, in the ancient land of Camelot, where our main character wakes up from a nasty seizure. He is scheduled to be put to death the very next day by burning, but saves his skin because of his future knowledge. He tells the king that if he puts him to death that he will blot out the sun permanently, of course it was really just a solar eclipse, but they didn't know that. Once he becomes the second most powerful man in the kingdom by title, he sets out on a mission to modernize Camelot to nineteenth century levels. At the beginning of his rule, he builds many secret factories, and many secret telephone lines. Such inventions were kept from the public because he didn't want them to be viewed as evil magic and reject them, so he introduced them slowly over time. This method was reasonably successful. Getting on towards the end of the book, the church turned against him and ripped all his glorious changes apart, reverting the culture back to its backward state while 'The Boss' was out of the country. When he returned back to his position in Camelot, he found most everything torn to shreds. He took just over fifty of his best men to defend a little sand belt, waiting for the biggest battle to date. Who had won? The tens of thousands of knights, or the inventory and his fifty soldiers? Its your job to read the book and find out. Mark Twain seems to want to do quite a bit in the line of updating Camelot in this book, as well as expressing his opinions as to the state of the human mind's evolution. Maybe he should have spent a little more time writing this book, expanding upon his ideas in both respects. The book as a whole felt quite rushed. On the other hand, it is still a very entertaining book to read, and should give most anybody a good time. In my opinion, this book scores somewhere between three and four stars, as I do recommend it, but I have read better books.

posted by Anonymous on October 2, 2001

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    This book has a unique plot. A great classic.

    Mark Twain's book is about a nineteenth century Yankee named Hank who finds himself in Camelot after getting hit on the head. He must immediately fight for his life and find his place in his new world. His resources include his knowledge of the future, an understanding of technology and machinery, and a quick wit.
    The plot focuses on Hank's attempts to refine the culture and ideas of this early medieval time. I liked the way that events in the story unfolded because it was refreshingly unpredictable and unique. At one point in time, he is posting billboards on knights for advertisement purposes, and later he is lassoing knights from their saddles in a jousting tournament. Although these things may seem silly and off-the-wall, Twain uses interesting, eye-catching language (for instance, when he is describing the castle on page thirty-three, he says, "There was no gas, there were no candles' a bronzed dish half full of boardinghouse butter with a blazing rag floating in it was the thing that produced what was regarded as light"). His description of simple things is still extremely interesting. He provides a deeper message about politics and the oppression of the people.
    Although I sincerely enjoyed the plot and Twain's language, I did not like Hank as a character. As he came into power due to his knowledge and understanding, he became conceited. He liked to think of the world around him as a stage; he would do things in a way that would be the most picturesque, instead of in ways that would most easily help himself and the people around him. As an example, Hank, at one point in the novel, chants in a magical language as he is freeing water from a well with an explosion. Twain seems to be teaching a lesson by pointing out the flaws in Hank, but at times his character was annoying to me because of his showy attitude.
    Altogether, the book was very enjoyable. My own dislikes as I read the story were few and minor. The story is very well done and deserves to be read if you are looking for a good classic.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2006

    Great Book!!!

    I loved this book! It is so funny and really an enjoyable read. I love anything by Mark Twain because he puts such humor into potentially boring subjects. He really lightens up the whole King Arthur story. I would recommend this book to anyone I know. You must read this book!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2013

    One of my favorite books. It's so smart and deep. Some moments a

    One of my favorite books. It's so smart and deep. Some moments are emotional but it is written with humor and some moments you can't help but laugh with amazement and admiration. Mark Twain is brilliant. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    In a word . . . wonderful!

    A good friend recommended that I read this book and I enjoyed every word. First of all, I thought it was hilarious, full of biting satire. Secondly, it was such a fresh look at Camelot, Twain wasn't held back by the idealized and over-romanicized legends of King Arthur. I highly recommend this book, it may change your point of view.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Hi

    I love u this much

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    terrible

    Too short

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Pointless

    Way to boring!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Whoops

    The reviews for every version of this book have been jumbled up! If you are going to get this then get the one for barnes and noble classics! So what if its three bucks more, it's readable!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2009

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is an incredibly entertaining read that is sad, touching, and droll at all the right times.

    What would happen if a man today traveled back in time to the middle ages and superimposed himself on the government? The result is some of the most inspired satire ever created, known as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, written by Mark Twain. The protagonist, Hank Morgan, is smart and cynical, the perfect man to poke fun at the romanticized ideas of chivalry and feudalism. He uses his knowledge and cunning to prove himself an all-powerful magician, which secures him a position in the government as second-in-command to the king. Hank isn't without his flaws; he suffers from a temper and can act irrationally because of it in some cases. However, he's a hilarious and usually kind character that's easy to get attached to.

    As funny as some encounters can get, there are also some downright shocking moments. Heartbreaking displays are shown throughout the book: families with smallpox left to die, slavery, and incredibly twisted seeming governmental policies. Not only is it gruesome, but it is all considered normal in the sixth century. Although the deplorable state of humanity in that time is only part of the focus of the book, it certainly has a powerful and profound effect on the reader.

    It goes without saying that this book is an absolute delight. It's easily equal to any of Mark Twain's other classics. Hank Morgan should be regarded as one of the great characters: one who's never perfect, but always entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    The Pursuit Of Power Can Be A Cancer

    The Boss: Glory Days
    Mark Twain touches on multiple themes in his work A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. One of the main themes is how Twain's hero, the "curious stranger" Hank Morgan achieves his goals through the attainment of power. One could argue that the proper source for power, however cliché, is knowledge. As Hank is a manufacturer in an arms factory; he has a working knowledge of all things practical in the world of weapons, and "labor saving machinery" (8). Hank's first resource in obtaining power is through his advanced understanding of how things work. Also Hank's awareness of his place in history, and his use of common sense play an important role in his ability to influence.
    Additionally, Hank achieves power through the use of manipulation and exploiting the naivety of the people in the region, as well as the humiliation of Merlin. Hank maintains his power through his enterprising and industrious nature, as well as his savvy ability. He also recognizes the need to maintain power by being visible; he does so by making appearances at the tournaments for two reasons: "a man must not hold himself aloof from the things which his friends and his community have at heart if he would be liked-especially as a statesman." (44). He also wanted to study the tournament to see if he could perfect it.

    It's clear that Hank disfavors nobility or inherited power of an individual as a means to rule. Though ironically it's hard to ignore the similarities between Hank's secretive rise to power and Hitler's swift, and stealthy conquering of eastern Europe before WWII. It's important that one recognizes the importance of limiting powers, moreover having a system of checks and balances for any individual, organized institutions, governments, or power structure. Finally it's equally important to try to get to the fundamental reason behind Hank's desire to achieve power, was it for the public good or was it his vanity and need for self-congratulation? Maybe Hank really wants a utopian society where all things are equal for the people of the realm, or maybe he's just out for self -righteous glory.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Ninja to roen

    That makes it worse trust me i know

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    WELL DONE B&N

    The drawings in this book are great! And the print is not too small. Buy this book just for the drawings. I am not commenting on the story but is a neat story.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Love this book

    I read this book in 6th grade and I loved it. Though it's pretty detailed and "boring" in parts it had a great story line and plot. I loved it!!! -Shea, a freshman :)

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Wanted to enjoy, but it became hard

    I really enjoy reading Mark Twain, but I had never read "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" before; so I decided to download it as my first book to read on my Nook. By and by I was dissapointed at mostly every turn. A good bit of my dissapointment was led by the abismal way in which this book is transcribed for the Nook. There are literary mistakes on almost every page, some minor like "mi = me," other major where paragraphs get mismatched ( normally by information the transcribtionist throws inbetween dialog). As for Mark Twain is writing performance is on a higher platform, than that transcribed. The story was just hard to follow at times, because it is a commentary, in my opinion, on his (M.T) time period; which becomes hard to follow if you don't know it. Between his essays and time period commentary, however, is a wonderful story of fantasy and science, history and modern-age merging like oil and water. It was a fun read, for the most part, but a very challenging one as well.

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    Pretty funny for the late 1800's

    This book was actually pretty entertaining. I did not find it very political, like some of the criticism included charges. The old English speaking in the story was somewhat unintelligible to me at times. The plot is just consistently funny though.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    My Favorite Twain Book!

    Your high school or university will have you read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but A Connecticut Yankee is where it's at. Though Huckleberry Finn took on a major evil of society at its time, slavery, A Connecticut Yankee shows us how society should be structured, through socialism. It's entertaining and provides lots of food for thought. It's structure is more cohesive than Huck Finn, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2010

    Equal Parts Time Travel Adventure and Satirical Brilliance

    As you can expect with Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court contains both an exciting adventure and satirical insight into society. The adventure in this book is obviously a trip back in time to King Arthur's Court bringing Merlin into the story. It was a great read. Unlike some of Twain's later works that are often too pessimistic for me, this one is a fun read.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    mark twain book

    this book is pretty good. if you like mixed type of books, you will like this book. its horribly boring in some parts but mostly interesting and can be a little funny at times. its pretty long so you should read this when you have a lot of time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    An alright book

    I thought this book was a decent book, but it definitely could have been better. Again I do dislike how the intro written by another author basically gives away the whole story, so that nothing ends up being a surprise in the book. Not all introductions do this, but this is the second book (Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde being the other one) where I felt all the plot twists were told before I even began reading the book. That being said this was another great story told by an amazing story teller in Mark Twain. Granted The Prince & the Pauper is still my favorite book by Twain, but I would rank this book up there with Huck Finn, and even above Tom Sawyer. Something that was good about the intro is when it was discussed how Huck Finn was a discription of a young Samuel Clemens, and Hank was a description of more cynical & experienced Mark Twain. The story of the evolution from Hank, factory worker to Sir Boss, the king's highest advisor, I felt was done very well. However, I do have a couple complaints about this story like the gaps in the novel that never got properly explained. An example of this is the relationship between Hank and the woman I believe ends up being his wife and mother of his child. It starts out with him being hesitant to do anything with her due to him have another woman in his time he was in a relationship with, and then all of sudden he is married & has child with her? Also, whereas most of the novel is rather drawn out, it comes to a sudden end with the war that ends chivalry in England & then Hank falls into a deep slumber. The ending needed to be explained a little more, and the supposed end to English chivalry was hard to believe.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Conneticut Yankee

    This beloved tale shows what it would be like to travel back in time, right into King Arthur's court. What would you change if you could?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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