Clemens of the Call

by Edgar M. Branch. University of California, $8.50. Samuel Clemens worked on the San Francisco Morning Call from June to October of 1864, and the paper rankled in his mind because it was the one place from which he got fired. He was the only reporter on the Call staff, and there seems to have been a difference of opinion about how much one lokulitems could (management) or should (Clemens) do. While he lasted, Clemens covered fires, police court, house movings (San Francisco was addicted to this exercise and lokulitems got much diversion out of it), steamship accidents, murders, charity fairs, abandoned babies, and anything else that turned up. Mr. Branch has retrieved this material and furnished it with a well-written explanatory matrix. Some of the pieces are dutiful hack work, but others give hilarious warning of Mark Twain at his best.