Retrace Mark Twain’s footsteps as a cub reporter on a bold adventure sailing around the Mediterranean and throughout Europe in 1867, with Jerusalem and the Holy Land as his ultimate destination. The 31-year-old reporter convinced a newspaper to pay for his excursion aboard the world’s very first cruise ship, in exchange for writing about his travels in regular dispatches.

Narrated by Martin Sheen, this documentary reveals Twain’s complex relationship with religion. His childhood imaginings of the Holy Land are confronted with a vastly different reality; the monuments, cities, and landscapes aren’t as grand as the Scriptures led him to believe. He also finds himself disillusioned by the poverty and squalor he witnesses beneath the “splendor” of European culture.

Twain paints an original and irreverent portrait for his eager readers back home. It is the first time that an American audience sees Europe and the Holy Land from the perspective of the “Everyman.” Upon returning home, Twain’s letters and articles are compiled and edited into a best-selling travelogue, The Innocents Abroad.

This documentary features never-before-seen letters and documents written by Twain. It also includes the only film footage of him in existence, as well as the first-ever footage shot in Jerusalem. It chronicles Twain’s exploits on his landmark journey and establishes him as the voice of America — funny, sarcastic, and powerfully opinionated.

On CPTV: Monday, February 26, 2018 at 10 p.m.

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