by Mark Twain | Grades 9-12
In this classic satiric novel, published in 1889, Hank Morgan, a supervisor in a Connecticut gun factory, falls unconscious after being whacked on the head. When he wakes up and finds himself in Britain in 528, he is immediately captured, hauled back to Camelot, and sentenced to death.
But Hank is a quick-witted and enterprising fellow, and in the process of saving his life he turns himself into a celebrity of the highest magnitude. His Yankee ingenuity and knowledge of the world beyond the Dark Ages are regarded as the most powerful sorcery--winning him the eternal enmity of a jealous Merlin.
In an effort to bring democratic principles and mechanical knowledge to the kingdom, Hank introduces newspapers, telephones, bicycles, and other modern conveniences to the Dark Ages. But when he tries to improve the lot of the common people, chaos and war result, giving a bittersweet tone to this comic masterpiece by one of America's greatest storytellers.
In this acclaimed tour de force, Mark Twain moves from broad comedy to biting social satire, from the pure joy of wild high jinks to deeply probing insights into the nature of man. Considered by H. L. Mencken to be "the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion... that ever lived," Twain enchants readers even as the grim truths of his Camelot strike disturbingly contemporary notes.