Newspaper Days H L Mencken ; Book of a Lifetime
Thompson, Brian, The Independent (London, England)
Blustering, argumentative, effortlessly derisive, H L Mencken was a great American writer under almost any definition the term enjoys. I can remember the astonishment I felt more than 40 years ago coming across a little nest of his works in a second-hand bookshop. Reading them was like opening the door to a cyclone. Mencken's home turf was Baltimore, where he was born in 1882. In 1940-41, he published his autobiography, divided into two books, of which I have chosen the second, Newspaper Days. By the time of its publication, Mencken had been a newspaperman for more than 40 years. This book tells the uproarious tale of his apprenticeship on the Baltimore Herald.
Mencken was one of the great stylists of the American language. This is his account of a fire at the zoo: "In a few minutes all its major inmates were burned to death and the small fry were at large. The pursuit of the latter went on all night and all the next day, and the cops turned up an occasional frost-bitten monkey as much as a week later. No really dangerous animals got loose, but the town was in a state of terror for weeks, and many suburban dogs, mistaken for lions or tigers, were done to death by vigilantes."
The target of his sardonic wit spread from the exuberant exposure of small-town shenanigans to a genial but ruthless castigation of all his …
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Publication information: Article title: Newspaper Days H L Mencken ; Book of a Lifetime. Contributors: Thompson, Brian - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 6, 2007. Page number: Not available. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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