The War Prayer

Title

The War Prayer
"No, I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead."
 
 

The War Prayer is a powerful piece of writing not generally mentioned in lists of works by Mark Twain. It was written in 1904, after the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. It is one reflection of Twain's well known distain for American Imperialism. The piece was not published until after Twain's death due to pressure from both his publisher and family. It is said that when requested to publish it he said: "No, I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead."

There are several versions of this piece available on the internet. One particularly poignant example was produced by Markos Kounalakis with illustrations by Akis Dimitrakopoulos and is narrated by Peter Coyote, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Erik Bauersfeld. It can be found on YouTube

The version provided here was recorded April 12, 2011 by SLClemens at the Fate Gardens in Second Life. It was recorded using an inexpensive Plantronics headset with microphone and Audacity 1.3.12-beta on a Linux Ubuntu Lucid system.

 

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