Mencken, The American Iconoclast

Marion E. Rodgers

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), a journalist and brilliantly humorous-satirical essayist of the 20th Century, mocked American Puritanism, anti-intellectualism, fundamentalist Christianity, and conformity. While living through the Great Depression, he still opposed Roosevelt’s New Deal and socialistic policies. Accused of anti-Semitism and racism, and a ladies’ man of wide repute, he became known as “The German Valentino”, before retiring to a happy marriage in his middle years. Rodgers’ biography captures Mencken’s irrepressible wit, iconoclasm and enables the reader to revisit “the Roaring Twenties” and the Depressed Thirties, WWII and its aftermath. His list of impressive friends included Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eddie Cantor and many other glitterati. The author, the beautiful Marion Rodgers, has made a business of Mencken, as the editor of both Mencken’s letters and articles. On balance, her almost elephantine book may provide more than you want to know or learn about this subject, but it is exceedingly well researched, documented and presented in fast-moving prose.                                                                                                                            Lee Lovett 08/2007