Mencken: The American Iconoclast

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9780195331295: Mencken: The American Iconoclast

A towering figure on the American cultural landscape, H.L. Mencken stands out as one of our most influential stylists and fearless iconoclasts--the twentieth century's greatest newspaper journalist, a famous wit, and a constant figure of controversy.
Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has written the definitive biography of Mencken, the finest book ever published about this giant of American letters. Rodgers illuminates both the public and the private man, covering the many love affairs, his happy marriage at the age of 50 to Sara Haardt, and his complicated but stimulating friendship with the famed theater critic George Jean Nathan. Rodgers vividly recreates Mencken's era: the glittering tapestry of turn-of-the-century America, the roaring twenties, depressed thirties, and the home front during World War II. But the heart of the book is Mencken. When few dared to shatter complacencies, Mencken fought for civil liberties and free speech, playing a prominent role in the Scope's Monkey Trial, battling against press censorship, and exposing pious frauds and empty uplift. The champion of our tongue in The American Language, Mencken also played a pivotal role in defining American letters through The Smart Set and The American Mercury, magazines that introduced such writers as James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Langston Hughes.
Drawing on research in more than sixty archives including private collections in the United States and in Germany, previously unseen, on exclusive interviews with Mencken's friends, and on his love letters and FBI files, here is the full portrait of one of America's most colorful and influential men.

"This biography, the best ever on the sage of Baltimore, is exhaustive but never exhausting, and offers readers more than moderate intelligence and an awfully good time."
--Martin Nolan, Boston Globe

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About the Author:


Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has edited Mencken and Sara: A Life in Letters and The Impossible H.L. Mencken, a popular collection of his best journalism. She lives in Washington, DC.

Review:


"The most superb and entertaining biography (in any field) that I've read in years, one that has 'National Book Award' stamped all over it."--Joseph Goulden, Washington Times


"This book is both enlightening and marvelous to read."--Blue Ridge Business Journal


"Definitive.... The last word on perhaps the most famous newspaper man of the 20th century."--Bloomsberg News


"Every new generation should rediscover H. L. Mencken, and every journalist should read this fine biography. Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has produced a balanced, measured portrait, proving herself as adept at probing the labyrinth of Mencken's private life as she is at placing his iconoclasm in the context of his times."--The London Sunday Times


"Rodgers isn't the first to tell the story of powerful and controversial thinker and writer Mencken, but her affection for this notorious iconoclast and her access to untapped sources make for a uniquely fresh and absorbing biography."--Booklist (in naming Mencken one of the top ten biographies of the year)


"In this splendid biography...Rodgers juggles the dense narrative of Mencken's life and times with considerable dexterity, while also providing a glimpse into his very private world.... His was one of the key American literary lives of the 20th century and Rodgers has, quite simply, done him proud."--The London Independent


"Marion Rodgers has written a comprehensive and humane biography.... In these troubled times, compared to Mencken, with all his faults, we journalists look like pygmies."--The London Literary Review


"In these parlous times, when 'media personalities' parrot partisan talking points, a visit with Mencken is a seidel of cold pilsner on a hot day. Born in 1880, he died in 1956. Why do people still talk about him 50 years later? The most exhilarating way to find out is to read Mencken: The American Iconoclast, by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers. This biography, the best ever on the sage of Baltimore, is exhaustive but never exhausting, and offers readers more than moderate intelligence and an awfully good time."--Martin Nolan, Boston Globe


"The most recognizably human Mencken to date.... The best, as well as the liveliest, up-to-date biography.... Mencken's timeliest quality remains his bedrock principles, particularly his commitment to civil liberty in times of hysteria--and regardless of popular opinion. Would that we could bargain with Hades and trade him for a Judy Miller or a David Frum. But as it is, we can content ourselves with Mencken's works, and be thankful that Marion Rodgers has reminded us of a time when at least one journalist held to an unswerving commitment to liberty, Comstocks and Creels be damned."--Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative


"Rodgers tells all with considerable verve.... She's certainly covered Mencken's extraordinarily complex life with exemplary thoroughness, sympathy and honesty, and more than a little wit."--Baltimore Sun


"A superb study of the life of the cigar-chomping controversialist, civil libertarian and muckraker who remains the patron saint of journalists, at least of a certain age.... The best biography of Mencken to date."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"Skillfully written, broadly encompassing and fairly bristling with documentation, it is, overall, the best--as well as longest--of the [major Mencken biographies]."--Chicago Sun-Times


"A biography that stands out in a crowded field because of her exhaustive research and her deft touch as a writer.... Rodgers manages to make her mark amid all this competition because, among those who have sought to provide a comprehensive, scholarly examination of Mencken's life, she is by far the most capable storyteller. The extent of her research is phenomenal...but she is never overwhelmed by her material. Rather, she is able to weave all these intricate details into a narrative that enables readers to see how this extraordinary life unfolded in real time.... Rodgers' life of Mencken is memorable and engaging...she now stands with the best of the great journalist's biographers." --San Francisco Chronicle


"With obvious affection for her subject, access to untapped sources, and interviews with Mencken's friends and enemies, Rodgers offers an absorbing look at the 'bad boy of Baltimore'.... Rodgers conveys the high spirits and complexity of an American iconoclast and the turbulent times in which he lived."--Booklist (starred review)


"By far the best Mencken biography ever written--and this reviewer has read almost a dozen.... This book is a masterpiece.... If you care about America, ideas, courage, and good writing and read only one biography this year, I would suggest this be the one."--Toledo Blade


"Detailed, pungent, humorous and vivid.... Rodgers presents a wealth of information that, like Mencken's writing, is a true joy to read."--Santa Fe New Mexican


"Even now, almost 50 years after his death, many of Mencken's political insights hold true...as Rodgers shows in this thorough work, Mencken was more than a newspaperman and prolific author.... This is a meticulous portrait of one of the most original and complicated men in American letters." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"H.L. Mencken--Henry to his friends--has always been a hard nut to crack. Now Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has, for once and for all, just about done it.... In clear and forceful prose he would have approved of, Rodgers gives Mencken his 1ightful place in American literature and life. Her book is...captivating."--Anthony Day, Los Angeles Times


"A comprehensive biography of this famously irascible writer from Baltimore."--Library Journal


"The most complete and the most living picture of H. L. Mencken that has ever been attempted, written with vividness and even poignancy. This is a definitive biography."--Charles Fecher, editor, The Diary of H. L. Mencken, and author of Mencken: A Study of His Thought


"A fine piece of work."--Seattle Times


"A detailed look at the life and works of one of America's foremost journalists and social critics, whose public identity outshines his private one."--Denver Post


"Provides new insights into the inner life and character of a man who has always been an enigma.... But it is her sympathetic yet unflinching look at Mencken the lover and Mencken the (falsely) accused bigot and defender of Hitler that make her book special.... Rodgers' biography brings fresh understanding to America's greatest journalist, who approached every subject with complete fearlessness and honesty and the conviction that the writer must always put on a good show. Did he ever."--Memphis Flyer


"H.L. Mencken, the legendary scourge of the booboisie, infuriated red-state Americans while enchanting urban freethinkers, boozers, and long-haired eggheads. In this full length portrait of the great hell-raiser and his era, Marion Rodgers discloses an old-fashioned mama's boy and a warm and apparently irresistable lover of women. Also--what a rarity!--a truly independent mind."--Russell Baker


"Marion Elizabeth Rodgers is a thorough scholar and not--like so many American biographers--an idolater; she has delicate intuition about her subject, a lively awareness of the warts, and overall good judgement."--Alistair Cooke


"The greatest American master of witty invective was also an eccentric, vulnerable human being. So we learn from Marion Rodgers's wonderful book. Wonderful and timely. 'Heave an egg out of a Pullman window,' he wrote, 'and you will hit a Fundamentalist almost anywhere in the United States today.' To paraphrase Wordsworth on Milton, 'Mencken! Thou shouldst be living at this hour.'"--Anthony Lewis


"Rodgers's Mencken is a latter-day Mark Twain, the man whose fights against censorship and for civil liberties were meant to benefit all Americans. The virtue of this book is that, for Mencken's many admirers, it provides a detailed, loving account of their hero as he goes about his life."--Weekly Standard


Named one of the "Best Books of 2007" by the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette


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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.A towering figure on the American cultural landscape, H.L. Mencken stands out as one of our most influential stylists and fearless iconoclasts-the twentieth century s greatest newspaper journalist, a famous wit, and a constant figure of controversy. Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has written the definitive biography of Mencken, the finest book ever published about this giant of American letters. Rodgers illuminates both the public and the private man, covering the many love affairs, his happy marriage at the age of 50 to Sara Haardt, and his complicated but stimulating friendship with the famed theater critic George Jean Nathan. Rodgers vividly recreates Mencken s era: the glittering tapestry of turn-of-the-century America, the roaring twenties, depressed thirties, and the home front during World War II. But the heart of the book is Mencken. When few dared to shatter complacencies, Mencken fought for civil liberties and free speech, playing a prominent role in the Scope s Monkey Trial, battling against press censorship, and exposing pious frauds and empty uplift. The champion of our tongue in The American Language, Mencken also played a pivotal role in defining American letters through The Smart Set and The American Mercury, magazines that introduced such writers as James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Langston Hughes. Drawing on research in more than sixty archives including private collections in the United States and in Germany, previously unseen, on exclusive interviews with Mencken s friends, and on his love letters and FBI files, here is the full portrait of one of America s most colorful and influential men. This biography, the best ever on the sage of Baltimore, is exhaustive but never exhausting, and offers readers more than moderate intelligence and an awfully good time. -Martin Nolan, Boston Globe. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780195331295

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. A towering figure on the American cultural landscape, H.L. Mencken stands out as one of our most influential stylists and fearless iconoclasts-the twentieth century s greatest newspaper journalist, a famous wit, and a constant figure of controversy. Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has written the definitive biography of Mencken, the finest book ever published about this giant of American letters. Rodgers illuminates both the public and the private man, covering the many love affairs, his happy marriage at the age of 50 to Sara Haardt, and his complicated but stimulating friendship with the famed theater critic George Jean Nathan. Rodgers vividly recreates Mencken s era: the glittering tapestry of turn-of-the-century America, the roaring twenties, depressed thirties, and the home front during World War II. But the heart of the book is Mencken. When few dared to shatter complacencies, Mencken fought for civil liberties and free speech, playing a prominent role in the Scope s Monkey Trial, battling against press censorship, and exposing pious frauds and empty uplift. The champion of our tongue in The American Language, Mencken also played a pivotal role in defining American letters through The Smart Set and The American Mercury, magazines that introduced such writers as James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Langston Hughes. Drawing on research in more than sixty archives including private collections in the United States and in Germany, previously unseen, on exclusive interviews with Mencken s friends, and on his love letters and FBI files, here is the full portrait of one of America s most colorful and influential men. This biography, the best ever on the sage of Baltimore, is exhaustive but never exhausting, and offers readers more than moderate intelligence and an awfully good time. -Martin Nolan, Boston Globe. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780195331295

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