Book Review in Mark Twain Journal (vol. 49, nos. 1 & 2, Spring/Fall 2011)

Thomas J. Reigstad, Scribblin' for a LIvin': Mark Twain's Pivotal Period in Buffalo. Foreword by Neil Schmitz. Illustrated. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2013. 332 pp. Index. Paper.

Profusely illustrated, Reigstad's study fills in many blanks about the chaotic years between 1869 and 1871 when Clemens joined the editorial staff of the Buffalo Express, formed some lifelong personal and literary friendships, suffered several crushing domestic crises, and honed his writing skills. Reigstad sets out to halt the biographers' "drumbeat of slighting Buffalo, initiated by [Albert Bigelow] Paine." A selection from Clemens's newspaper columns is reprinted in appendixes. It is hard to imagine that any book-length examination of the Clemenses' tumultuous Buffalo days will ever supersede this illuminating volume. When read in conjunction with Mark Twain at the Buffalo Express: Articles and Sketches by America's Favorite Humorist, ed. Joseph B. McCullough and Janice McIntire-Strassbuirg (DeKalb: Northern University Press, 2000), the enormous importance of Clemens's journalistic stint in Buffalo becomes abundantly apparent.