The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (ΦBK, University of Missouri)
Set by the Mississippi River in the 1840’s, this tale is a follow-up to his original book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huckleberry takes off on a raft down the Mississippi with Jim, a slave seeking his freedom. The novel's preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author's remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book's understated development of serious underlying themes: "natural" man versus "civilized" society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics. Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.