Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain’s Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour comes from the New York Times bestselling author of Pirate Hunter and Island of Vice. Author Zacks delivers the untold story of how in 1895 Samuel Langhorne Clemens — the highest paid writer in America — succeeded in losing his entire family’s fortune, only to win it all back and rehabilitate his reputation through the world’s first global standup comedy tour.
Twain delivered 122 standup comedy performances — the greatest hits of his career in a 90-minute one-man show — across the U.S. and on to Australia, New Zealand, India, Ceylon, and South Africa. The performances were funny, poignant, strangely thought-provoking, and wildly popular. No American author had ever talked his way around the world. And on the cusp of success, his family suffered a horrific tragedy, but Twain survived and returned triumphant to New York City in 1900.
Chasing the Last Laugh is the story of how with humor and perseverance Mark Twain rallied to repay his debts and restore his fortune. It is also the tale of how the famed author found himself caught in the middle between two powerful advisors: his honor-bound wife and his ruthless tycoon friend, H.H. “Hell Hound” Rogers of Wall Street, a vice president at Standard Oil.
Zacks introduces a previously unseen side of an American icon — Twain as expat — via new source material, including many of the artist’s previously unpublished letters and personal notebooks from the last decade of the 19th century, unlocking the key to some of the most serious writing and biting humor of his career.