The anthology that spans an entire lifetime of writing by America's greatest curmudgeon, with a "flick of mischief on nearly every page".The anthology that spans an entire lifetime of writing by America's greatest curmudgeon, with a "flick of mischief on nearly every page".Hide synopsis
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I've always run into quotes of his so was glad to finally get this collection of Mr. Mencken's essays to feast on more of what he thought about this society. A behind the scenes 'take' on prohibition. That honest, hardworking men might virtually 'need' a beer or spirits. It's nearly 100 degrees, they've been confined for endless hours covering a political convention. The immensely convoluted plots and plans trying to ship beer from one state into another. These men were not boozing sots who were neglecting families. Nor taking food out of the mouths of a passel of children. Merely parched. When I read his description of the shape of the female body being an imperfect 'S' my mind leapt to the movies of the twenties and thirties. I could visualize the sleek and slender and yes even flat chested women of the screen. Could a man of enormous wit and influence have imprinted on the collective psyche of the zeitgeist that being amply endowed wasnt all that pretty? He wrote this 'shape of woman's body' well before the Hepburns, Garbos et al, showed themselves as another ideal of beauty. There is much more of incredible interest in this book: His discourse on William Jennings Bryant versus Clarence Darrow. And their disparate views. An awesome, hard-to-put-down book.
Makes you laugh, then cry - his assessment of the American condition is Right On! - even though written 80 years ago. His command of the language is superb, and his knack for getting at the core of things (knocking down our tin gods along the way) has proven prophetic.
If you want to see the progression/regression of our culture - wrapped in a joke- read Mencken.
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