My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I feel sorry for folks whose exposure to Mark Twain is limited to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Although those are good books, I really love his travel writing. Following the Equator is not a book you would want to read to find out the best route to take, the best places to eat and sleep or what to see. But, it is a book to read if you enjoy sardonic humor, with Twain's wry comments about what he sees. One surprising thing to me, given Twain's causal use of racial slurs is his outrage at how the whites in South Africa were treating the blacks, which he linked to how Americans treated native Americans. But the reason to read Twain these days is that he is still so funny. Here's a passage about the clothes he saw the Boers wearing in South Africa:
A gaunt, shackly country lout six feet high, in battered gray slouched hat with wide brim and old resin-colored breeches, had on a hideous brand-new woolen coat which was imitation tiger skin-- wavy broad stripes of dazzling yellow and deep brown. I thought he ought to be hanged, and asked the stationmaster if it could be arranged. He said no; and not only that, but said it rudely; said it with a quite unnecessary show of feeling. Then he muttered something about my being a jackass, and walked away and pointed me out to people, and did everything he could to turn public sentiment against me. It is what one gets for trying to do good.