In 1882 Mark Twain returned to the river of his childhood, determined to write the definitive travel book on the Mississippi. Life on the Mississippi is no ordinary guided tour, for every page is expressive of the structure, style and high humour that is the very essence of Twain the writer. Spiced with Twain's pungent observations and commentaries on the culture and society of the great river valley, the book is a wonderful collection of lively anecdotes, tall tales and character sketches; historical facts and information; and reminiscences of the author's boyhood and experiences as a steamboat pilot. Life on the Mississippi , in its composition and substance, is intricately related to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . In his introduction, James M. Cox suggests that in writing this travelogue Twain discovered the truths that form the heart of the odyssey depicted in his masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn.