Mark Twain historian at Sundance Books April 24

BohemiansCoverFrom a Sundance Books and Music news release

Historian Ben Tarnoff will read from his new book, The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Changed American Literature (Penguin Press, March 2014).

Thursday, April 24, 6:30 p.m.

Sundance Books and Music, 121 California Ave., Reno

About the Book:

The Bohemians begins in 1860s San Francisco. The Gold Rush has ended; the Civil War threatens to tear apart the country. Far from the frontlines, the city at the Western edge roars. A global seaport, home to immigrants from five continents, San Francisco had become a complex urban society virtually overnight. The bards of the moment are the Bohemians: A young Mark Twain, escaping conscription and seeking adventure; literary golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbirth, poet and protectorate of this band of lost boys. Historian Ben Tarnoff’s elegant, atmospheric story tells how together these four pioneering Western writers would create a new American literature, unfettered by the heavy European influence that dominated the East.

Early Praise:

“Stylish and fast-paced literary history…. Tarnoff breathes fresh life into his narrative… giving us a rich portrait of a lost world overflowing with new wealth and new talent.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Tarnoff’s glimmering prose lends grandeur to this account of four writers (Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard and Ina Coolbrith) who built “an extraordinary literary scene” in the frontier boom town of 1860s San Francisco.” –Publishers Weekly

About the Author:

Ben Tarnoff has written for The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Lapham’s Quarterly and is the author of A Counterfeiter’s Paradise: The Wicked Lives and Surprising Adventures of Three Early American Moneymakers. He was born in San Francisco.

More Details: Learn at

This event is made possible through a partnership with Nevada Humanities and with support from the Nightingale Family Foundation.


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