This publication of Mark Twain’s book is packaged with Joan of Arc’s trial transcripts. Joan of Arc’s fascinating life ended when she was 19 years old—burned at the stake after leading thousands of men in military battles that were decisive in ending the Hundred Years War. She was officially appointed as commander-in-chief of the French army by King Charles VII, but he later abandoned her when he could have intervened to save her from execution.Twain wrote, “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.”Twain was passionate about historical accuracy when writing about Joan of Arc, and he learned French to read available documentation about her life. His notebooks from 1855 are full of French language exercises that illustrate the painstaking process he used to learn the language. By 1860 Twain was reading Voltaire, and when his book about Joan of Arc was published in 1896, he listed 11 academic sources to bolster his claims about the accuracy of details included in his book.In the transcripts from Joan of Arc’s 1431 Condemnation Trial, she provides meticulous details about having supernatural encounters with long-dead Catholic saints. She claimed to hear the voices of these saints daily, and she provided other details about having visual encounters with apparitions of the saints.Scholarly debate continues to this day on the source of Joan’s “voices” (the mysterious interior locutions that guided her behavior). Some say Joan suffered from delusions, but she claimed her voices gave her the instructions that led to her military success. She also stated numerous times that her voices enabled her to make accurate predictions about future events—which were confirmed by many sober witnesses who later gave testimony.Twain’s interest in supernatural and paranormal phenomena began in the 1840s when he twice witnessed his mother’s recovery after the intervention of a faith healer. Twain also had a dream in which he saw a future event—his brother dead, lying in a coffin. The dream was full of details that later proved to be entirely accurate, down to details such as a single red rose laying in the middle of a bouquet of white flowers.After those events, Twain began having experiences he described as “thought transfer,” and he joined the London Society for Psychical Research in 1885. During the 12 years of research Twain did in preparing to write about Joan of Arc, he became enthralled with Joan and her supernatural experiences, all of which are documented in her trial transcripts.When Twain was the guest of honor during a 1905 dinner, organizers of the event planned to surprise Twain by having a woman appear as Joan of Arc. The following quote is from a New York Times article published December 22, 1905, “Joan of Arc Appears to Startle Mark Twain—Surprise Prepared for Him by Society of Illustrators.”“It had been arranged that when the humorist arose to speak Miss Angersten, a well-known model, was to appear in the garb and with the simple dignity of Jean d’Arc, his favorite character in all history. He was on his feet as Jean d’Arc entered the room. She wore the armor of the French heroine and her hair and face made a strangely appealing picture. The face of the humorist, which had been wearing its ‘company’ smile all night, suddenly changed. He had every appearance of a man who had seen a ghost. His eyes fairly started out of his head, and his hand gripped the edge of the table ...many did not know whether it was time to laugh, disrespectful to giggle, or discourteous to keep solemn."