Mark Twain Made Me Do It and Other Plains Adventures


Mark Twain Made Me Do It and Other Plains Adventures

210 pages


March 1997


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December 2018


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About the Book

Mark Twain Made Me Do It and Other Plains Adventures is a collection of humorous essays portraying western Nebraska life and culture of the 1950s. Anecdotes on small-town baseball and the polio epidemic of 1952 provide a historic backdrop to the story of a wide-eyed boy exploring the limits of his universe.
The adventures of a Twain-inspired raft trip down the South Platte and Sputnik-inspired homemade rockets mirror a society of seemingly settled lifestyles and frenzied technological advances. Family travels, holidays with Grandpa and Grandma, and marvelous creations like his sister’s stories of Susabelle and the magic Band-Aids weave a splendid tale. But Jones’s world is not one of sentimental nostalgia; running battles with town bullies, sobering encounters with religious buffoons, and an impressive collection of pedagogues specializing in violent corporal punishment capture the earthy essence of a world now largely disappeared.

Author Bio

Bryan L. Jones teaches reading at McCook Junior High School in McCook, Nebraska. He is the author of The Farming Game (Nebraska 1982).


“I flat admire Bryan L. Jones’s Mark Twain Made Me Do It—not only because it dramatizes a truckload of boyhood epiphanies, but also because it does the dramatizing with a flair and an attitude worthy of Twain himself.”—William Kloefkorn

"Jones mixes humor characteristic of the plains society with a dash of wisdom, a pinch of the history of farming (of which most modern folks are woefully ignorant), and hefty insight into, and charity toward, human nature."—Linda Hasselstrom

“Jones succeeds in making Nebraska in the 1950s seem exotic, even fascinating, definitely worth hearing about.”—Noel Perrin

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