Few people are aware that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote a significant work about Joan of Arc. Fewer people are aware that he regarded it not only his most significant work, but also his best. He spent twelve years researching and several months in France performing archival work before making multiple attempts to present the story he intended to tell. He only came to his conclusion regarding Joan's unique role in history after thoroughly researching chronicles recorded by both sides, the French and the English.
Given Mark Twain's disdain for institutional religion, one could expect an anti-Catholic prejudice toward Joan or, at the very least, the bishops and theologians who condemned her. Instead, one gets a stunningly realistic chronicle of Joan of Arc's life and mission delivered by one of this country's best storytellers. The fact that Mark Twain wrote this book in the manner that he did is a tremendous testament to the allure of the Catholic Church's saints. This is a book that will both inform and inspire you.
“ I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none.”
— Mark Twain
“Mark Twain comes furtively like Nicodemus at night with this tribute to one of God’s saints. In doing so he tells a secret about himself. It is as though the man in a white suit and a cloud of cigar smoke thought there just might be a place where people in white robes stand in clouds of incense.”
— Fr. George Rutler, Author, The Cure d’Ars Today
"Twain's understanding of history and Joan's place in it accounts for his regarding his book Joan of Arc as worth all of his other books together."
— Edward Wagenknecht, The Man and His Work