The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huckleberry Finn ("Huck" to his friends) is a boy about thirteen or fourteen years old. He has been brought up by his father, the town drunk, and has a hard time fitting into society. The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about 20 years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism. Perennially popular with readers, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has also been the continued object of study by literary critics since its publication. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur "nigger", despite strong arguments that the protagonist and the tenor of the book are anti-racist. Mark Twain, was 'an outspoken critic of American involvement in the Philippines and China', and "one of the mammoth figures in anti-imperialism, and certainly the foremost anti-imperialist literary figure", having become in January 1901 a vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League of New York. James Smylie explains the controversy: "Twain went after the respected Congregationalist minister, Reverend William Scott Ament, director of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Ament joined other powers in seeking indemnities from the Chinese after the Boxer Rebellion against western exploitation in 1900. Twain, perhaps unfairly, was shocked that Ament would use such blood money for the "propagation of the Gospel" and to promote the "blessings of civilization" to brothers and sisters who "sit in darkness." He summoned to missionaries: Come home and Christianize Christians in the states!" Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel". Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.