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The Innocents Abroad is based on correspondence Twain sent to two newspapers recounting his experiences during five months aboard a cruise ship.
Twain's success with this kind of writing stems from his ability to vary the nature and pace of his text so that a great deal of historical and factual information is conveyed, interspersed with highly entertaining accounts of things that Twain himself experienced or witnessed. This blend of material was less tedious than the usual travel guide but more substantial than the typical book of humor; a narrative strategy that was useful to Twain in other kinds of writing as well.