The War Prayer

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain
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The War Prayer by Mark Twain

Written by Mark Twain during the Philippine-American War in the first decade of the twentieth century, The War Prayer tells of a patriotic church service held to send the town's young men off to war. During the service, a stranger enters and addresses the gathering. He tells the patriotic crowd that their prayers for victory are double-edged-by praying for victory they are also praying for the destruction of the enemy...for the destruction of human life.

Originally rejected for publication in 1905 as "not quite suited to a woman's magazine," this antiwar parable remained unpublished until 1923, when Twain's literary executor collected it in the volume Europe and Elsewhere. Handsomely illustrated by the artist and war correspondent Philip Groth, The War Prayer remains a relevant classic by an American icon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781547192724
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Pages: 28
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Mark Twain, who was born Samuel L. Clemens in Missouri in 1835, wrote some of the most enduring works of literature in the English language, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc was his last completed book—and, by his own estimate, his best. Its acquisition by Harper & Brothers allowed Twain to stave off bankruptcy. He died in 1910. 

Date of Birth:

November 30, 1835

Date of Death:

April 21, 1910

Place of Birth:

Florida, Missouri

Place of Death:

Redding, Connecticut

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War Prayer 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
I wasn't looking for another Mark Twain when I wandered round Powell's book store the other day. But I was browsing the sales table and was surprised to spot a very slender volume bearing his name -- the War Prayer. The fact that it was slender attracted me as much as the price -- a short classic? Then I opened the book and found that, true to its size, it's really just a short story, or story poem, published after his death because Mark Twain said "I have told the whole truth...and only dead men can tell the truth in this world..." And it's about a church service held to pray for young men about to go to war. I guess Mark Twain never saw the illustrations by John Groth. They complement the tale perfectly; I think he would be pleased. The white space on the sparsely written pages leaves time for the reader to think; one page contains only one word, "Listen!" and issues its challenge. Then on the final written page, just before the last, most devastating illustration, "the man" is called insane. I stood there in the store, wondering which man, or all of us. Yes. I read the whole book in the store. And then I wondered if I should buy it or leave it for someone else. But there were several copies, so I purchased one to bring home. Maybe my sons will pick it up, or visitors. Apparently when Dan Beard heard Samuel Clemens read the tale, he asked if he was going to publish it. "No," said Clemens. "It can be published after I'm dead." I'm glad it's been republished. I'm glad it's in print. And I'm sad that it's still so very relevant. If you find a copy, open it, read it, and see if you can say who's insane by the time you reach the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This piece first came to my attention 30 years ago. It is still as timely as ever! I have recommended this work to others for many years; given it as gifts & gone through several copies of my own! This is a MUST HAVE for anyone, any culture, especially in these relevant times. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! It's relatively short, to the point, and outstanding in it's imagery! I'd give it a thousand stars***************
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Guest More than 1 year ago
If a 7th grader can say this about war, why is he or she not in a position of power like those politicians? I say to give this kid millions for saying what they said, as not too many people I know will say it. it takes GUTS!!!!!!!! PS Did I mention that this kid should be a politician? He would have my respect concerning war issues, and they are issues!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A book that shows that patriotic prayers are double-edged-by praying for victory, and they are also praying for the destruction of the enemy and for the destruction of human life.