This is the first biography since his death of the man Edmund Wilson has called the greatest practicing literary journalist since Poe. It is also the first fully documented life to be issued. Mr. Bode has based his book on a host of Mencken letters, many unpublished; on family papers; on a variety of Mencken materials in print and out; and on many taped interviews with remaining friends of Mencken as well as with some of his old enemies. Two other things about the book are important firsts. The book analyzes Mencken s writing as it related to his life. And the book indicates the relation of Mencken to his timeMr Bode s "Mencken "takes us from the almost pastoral Baltimore of the 1880 s when Mencken was a boy; through World War I when Mencken was termed a traitor; into the Roaring Twenties when he was the decade s leading intellectual, magazine editor, and newspaper man; into the Depression when his influence sank to nearly nothing; then into the 1940 s when he issued his mellow reminiscences; and finally to his last years in Baltimore.Among the chapters are: Daily and Sunday, Dreiser and the Fruits of Dissidence, The "Mercury: "Mencken s Mind and Art, Mainstay of the "Sun, " " " Mencken, Darwin, and God, Mencken in Love, The Circus of Dr. R., and Friends and Familiars. "
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Magnificent biography.... A Menckenian accomplishment. Robert Kirsch, "Los Angeles"" Times Calendar""