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On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (Maryland Paperback Bookshelf) Paperback – July 30, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A collection of the master's exuberant political reportage... It is Mencken's festive air and the unchained delight he takes in balderdash and bamboozle that are so lacking in today's political commentators." -- Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe

Book Description

This collection of seventy political pieces drawn from Mencken's famous Monday columns in the Baltimore Evening Sun during the twenties and thirties shows the Sage of Baltimore at his satirical best.

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Product Details

  • Series: Maryland Paperback Bookshelf
  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (July 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801853427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801853425
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,628,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Mencken was one of the most influential and popular men of letters in America.
reader 1001
This book is a collection of political columns, written mostly for the Baltimore Sun, that H.L. Mencken penned in the early twentieth century.
Jeffrey Reed
If you are looking for a book on H.L. Mencken, I would highly recommend "On Politics."
Jay M. Dougherty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By reader 1001 on November 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Buy everything you can find that was written by H. L Mencken, this collection is no exception. Mencken was one of the most influential and popular men of letters in America. He covered the Scopes Monkey Trial as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and was editor of two literary magazines: Smart Set and the American Mercury. His popularity waned for a variety of reasons. While he teased presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, he gave no quarter when it came to FDR, referring to him "Dr. Roosevelt" and "Roosevelt minor." He had little use for the New Deal. "The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace." This and his pro-German attitudes didn't go over too well in the depression and war years. But over the last twenty or thirty years Mencken has enjoyed a resurgence or interest and popularity. As a journalist, a wit and a social critic he has no peer today.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chris Green (CGreen7223@aol.com) on July 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
An anthology of Mencken's newspaper reports and analyses on politics between 1920 and 1936. Most of them, I think, do not appear in any of the other various Mencken anthologies. They are written in lucid and musical prose, full of refreshing honesty and vigor.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jay M. Dougherty on December 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a book on H.L. Mencken, I would highly recommend "On Politics." This book highlights Mencken at his most acidic through his constant verbal jabs at the "holy" Woodrow Wilson, "Silent" Cal, the "royalist" Hoover, Roosevelt Minor and the stupidity of Warren Harding.(Note: Take a look at what Mencken writes about Harding's mangling of the english language and then compare it to what some modern columnists write about George W's handling of the language. It is truly scary how history repeats itself.)
Besides being an utterly hilarious look at the aforementioned presidents and American society in general, this book is quite eye-opening in terms of showing Mencken's political leanings. I always thought that Mencken was a pure liberatarian with his constant attacks on the New Deal and FDR. Actually, Mencken somewhat liked FDR up until he was elected. Mencken also sides with progressive politicians such as Robert M. LaFollete and expresses sympathy (or as much "sympathy" as the great misanthrope can express) for jailed socialist leader Eugene Debs. Nevertheless, all of the aforementioned people also receive Mencken verbal lashings.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in early 20th century American politics or for anyone with a slightly cynical bent. On days when you feel slightly misanthropic and (mad) at the world, read "On Politics" and you feel much, much better.
Favorite Mencken Quote: "All artists are idiots."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mencken was the UberMensch. We are all monkeys beside him. Some of his best work, in my opinion, can be found in this collection. The America he covered (or uncovered) so masterfully almost a century ago is eerily similar to the one we live in today. In fact, nothing has changed. Computers may have replaced typewriters, but the Boobery remain the same, not to mention the politicians who so easily manipulate them. Read this book and evolve!
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