Mark Twain (1835-1910), born in Florida, Missouri, has achieved fame and a literary following throughout the world for his irreverent humour, realistic depiction of life on the Mississippi River and memorable characters and scenes from mid-19th century America. Beginning life as an apprentice printers, he became a journeyman printer and then a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi until the American Civil War brought an end to travel on the river. After serving briefly as a volunteer soldier and a short stint of work in a silver mine and as a reporter, he began to write and travel. His famous novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer comes from his own boyhood experiences in a town on the Mississipi River. Its sequel The adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered to be his masterpiece.