Twain was practically bankrupt in 1894 due to a failed investment into a «revolutionary» typesetting machine. In an attempt to extricate himself from debt of $100,000 (equivalent of about $2 million in 2005) he undertook a tour of the British Empire in 1895, a route chosen to provide numerous opportunities for lectures in the English language.
In Following the Equator, an account of that travel published in 1897, the author unmasks and criticizes racism, imperialism and missionary zeal in observations woven into the narrative with classical Twain wit.
Of particular interest, historically, are Twain's references to Cecil Rhodes in Australia and South Africa, the in-depth description of «Thugs» and «Thuggee» in India and the Boer War period and diamonds in South Africa. (Summary by Wikipedia and John Greenman)
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