The Vintage Mencken

The Vintage Mencken The anthology that spans an entire lifetime of writing by America s greatest curmudgeon with a flick of mischief on nearly every page

  • Title: The Vintage Mencken
  • Author: H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke
  • ISBN: 9780679728955
  • Page: 462
  • Format: Paperback
  • The anthology that spans an entire lifetime of writing by America s greatest curmudgeon, with a flick of mischief on nearly every page.

    • The Vintage Mencken : H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke
      462 H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke
    • thumbnail Title: The Vintage Mencken : H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke
      Posted by:H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke
      Published :2019-07-07T21:07:18+00:00

    About " H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke "

  • H.L. Mencken Alistair Cooke

    Henry Louis H.L Mencken became one of the most influential and prolific journalists in America in the 1920s and 30s, writing about all the shams and con artists in the world He attacked chiropractors and the Ku Klux Klan, politicians and other journalists Most of all, he attacked Puritan morality He called Puritanism, the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy At the height of his career, he edited and wrote for The American Mercury magazine and the Balti Sun newspaper, wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column for the Chicago Tribune, and published two or three books every year His masterpiece was one of the few books he wrote about something he loved, a book called The American Language 1919 , a history and collection of American vernacular speech It included a translation of the Declaration of Independence into American English that began, When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody When asked what he would like for an epitaph, Mencken wrote, If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl from American Public Media


  • Not being American, I was not been brought up hearing the name of H L Mencken. My first awareness of him came from epigrammatic gobbets that got into books of quotations. For example, there is the epitaph which (I discover) he wrote for himself in 1921, long before he died in 1956: “If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have a thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl”. Or, “Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someo [...]

  • Yeah, I mean, he’s funny and he’s got some fabulous one liners but on balance he’s a classic troll, cantankerous for its own sake and to prove his individuality, obsessed with personal vendettas which were likely pointless at the time and are now utterly opaque (how much do you know about the American political scene of say, 1926? Because it turns out I don’t actually know anything either). It’s sort of illegitimate to compare a newspaperman to a ‘straight’ writer, their primary ob [...]

  • H.L. Mencken's brilliance shines through to the modern dayThis book compiles wisdom written nearly a century ago.And yet - Some of it feels as if it was written by a modern-day humorist. Mencken's wit and talent are not in question - but some of the themes he take on are so broad that they are still on topic today.

  • What can I say that critics haven’t been saying about him for a hundred years? Mencken lacerates more nonsense and makes more sense--common and uncommon--than everyone else that has lived or is to be born. Possibly the most respected journalist of all time. Father of muckraking, destroyer of popular myths, creator of unpopular truths. If you don’t like H.L.M. I probably won‘t like you.There, I bet no one said that before.

  • Very fine writing, particularly when he stays away from generic well, news pieces. I'm more interested in his particular opinions and expression of them than some account of 1920s zeitgeist (the articles about fish prices and police etc etc? Oh god, kill me now.), so obviously that's coloring my view quite a bit, but still. Anthony Lane's reminiscent of him in some ways, though Mencken doesn't have his glee.

  • The curmudgeonly, incomparable Mencken is always a sheer delight to read _ a breath of fresh air amid so much writing that's so canned and predictable. Even when he's wrong about something, he's wonderfully, delightfully wrong _ and only wants to make you read more.

  • Quotes:"The struggle of man, as he sees it, is more than impotent; it is gratuitous and purposeless. There is, to his eye, no grand ingenuity, no skillful adaptation of means to end, no moral (or even dramatic) plan in the order of the universe. He can get out of it only a sense of profound and inexplicable disorder. The waves which batter the cockleshells change their direction at every instant. Their navigation is a vast adventure, but intolerably fortuitous and inept - a voyage without chart, [...]

  • After the recent depressing and often illiterate election, it seemed a good time to read Mencken. With the recent candidates sounding like schoolyard bickerers it was a pleasure to read someone who could insult with such eloquence. Mencken was a voice of old style conservatism, before the meaning of that word was hijacked by the current crop. Agree with him or not, he is worth reading just to taste his joy in the magic of the American language. Sadly, a lot of his comments about the vacuous natu [...]

  • Mencken, an erudite curmudgeon, is a sort of spiritual grandfather to Christopher Hitchens. A passable read, giving insight into the Zeitgeist of early 20th century USA, although I could have wished the editor would have selected the pieces more carefully. Some favourite quotes:"The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its frequent astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem.""I have the notion that th [...]

  • With a rapier wit, H. L. Mencken captures the key moments and the everyday frustrations of early twentieth-century America. His sharp, elegant prose provides a portrait and running commentary of major and minor American figures, works, and occurrences. In this anthology Alistair Cooke claims to have gathered "the best of his [Mencken's:] work, putting the stress on the newspaper pieces that had outlived more pretentious stuff and on the memoirs in which emerged the beautiful, well-tempered, and [...]

  • Looking for a primer in delivering an opinion -- or whole strings of opinions -- with caustic and seeming irrefutable logic? H. L. Mencken, up until The Wire, and arguably beyond, was the smartest source of social commentary ever to emanate from Baltimore, Maryland. Some of the long-revered newspaperman and editor's views may seem quaint (Mencken inexplicably devotes an essay to the unsightliness of the naked female body), but his railing against demonizing of ethnic Americans during wartime (in [...]

  • In The Vintage Mencken, Alistair Cooke gathered “mainly to introduce to a generation that never read him a writer who more and more strikes me as the master craftsman of daily journalism in the twentieth century.” On the other hand, this could well be an “I compiled this not to praise Mencken but to bury him” sort of deal, only this time honestly. “Mencken’s thunder,” after all, “issued from an unmaterial mind, but also from a full stomach.”This collection stresses “the newsp [...]

  • Mencken is an old timey sass-filled hoot. He's that guy you meet and think, "This guy does not like me, but he keeps talking at me as though he thinks I like him. Boy is he worked up about things." The greatest challenge to me is figuring out what Mencken would say if he were put in any time period other than his own. He was keyed in on his surroundings so perfectly, and had no problem shouting out what he thought. His opinions are harsh but funny, and brilliantly so. Love Mencken. Because he do [...]

  • Mencken was an opinionated newspaper writer in the 1920s and 30s. I suspect that many of his pieces were written for shock value. I would recommend this if you enjoy old-fashioned satire.

  • "What chiefly distinguishes the daily press of the United States from the press of all other countries pretending culture is not its lack of truthfulness or even its lack of dignity and honor, for these deficiencies are common to everywhere, but its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion" "Democracy, in fact, is always inventing class disti [...]

  • Diverse and interesting collectionA lot of people are probably familiar with Mencken through one of his many witty aphorisms but, as this collection aptly demonstrates, his longer writings are also well worth reading. Divided into several sections based on topic, this book provides a good selection of pieces of varying lengths. There were so many great quotes, that I lost track. Personally, I love his approach to politics and religion, and there were plenty of applicable quotes in that regard. T [...]

  • Great collection. Truly vintage Mencken.I was fortunate enough to be encouraged to read Mencken by my favorite teacher of all time, Dr. Jim Stiver at the Uni. of South Carolina.I was also able to visit Baltimore over the week of July 4th this year (2017). And I got to see the Mencken room in the Enoch Pratt Free Library as well. Like Calvin Trillin of the NY Times, I have a number of books on or by Mencken. I don't always agree with him but no one turns a phrase quite the way he did.

  • Dated and in most cases pretty stale. Some historical insights. It would be great to hear what he might have to say about the current administration. That would be fun because he certainly didn't pull any punches.

  • Huge blowhard who cultivated a brand as an "iconoclast" whom US liberals find fascinating for some reason. Run of the mill anti-clerical libertarian aristocrat, what a concept.

  • Unless any of the characters from The Wire made it to an old enough age to be considered for the role (Bunk, maybe?), H.L. Mencken is Baltimore’s best-loved curmudgeon, sort of like an early 1900s Andy Rooney, except he could write well and he mocked Presbyterians and F.D.R. instead of needlessly purchased kitchen appliances. Mencken is probably best known now for his epigrams (such as, “Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking”), and while there are a few p [...]

  • The first I ever heard of HL Mencken was when I read his obit with a pic of his moon face with a stubby cigar in the middle of his mouth and the worst haircut I ever saw parted in the middle. I realized then I had to read him, and a few days later I found The Vintage Mencken in a campus bookstore. That was October '55 and I was an eighteen year old college freshman.A month ago I found myself recommending The Vintage Mencken to a friend, and my pitch was so successful that I bought another copy f [...]

  • There are three or four essays that run in a row in the middle of this book-- "The National Letters," "Star-Spangled Men," "The Archangel Woodrow," and "In Memoriam: W.J.B."-- that are really fantastic. For one, the man could really write an obituary. If he wanted, he could write it before the public figure was dead, and that would, in effect, kill his career.The real mark that this book has against it is that, instead of collecting the best Mencken essays, it glues together excerpts of essays, [...]

  • I'm sorry to admit that I was disappointed with this book. My expectations were perhaps set high because of the endless witty Mencken quotes I have read through the years. And perhaps the subject matter is better taken in its historical perspective (with the reader being far more familiar with the people and their respective personalities). What I thought I was getting was P.J. O'Rourke and what I got was George Will. No disrespect to Will, but everyone who has read him has asked themselves at s [...]

  • Mencken is starting to fall into obscurity, and that's bad, because we need Mencken at this point in America. Even while his prose and references seem to get more dated, his ideas and philosophy are as relevant as ever. Is this the best of Mencken? No, this is Alistair Cook's favorite Mencken, which is worth reading too.

  • Vicious, scathing, brilliant, and uproariously funny; Mencken wasn’t only the archetypal take-no-prisoners, “poison pen” journalist; but a master of the English language, as well. Acerbic, American social/political commentary at its finest.

  • Mencken is my personal hero, I think I can say I agree with him on every little thing he (so wittifully) says. And to think he wrote all this in the 20s I'd definitely read and highly recommend anything written by him.

  • I read this for two reasons: it's on "Hitchens Reading List" and Hunter S. always said Mencken inspired him. When reading this, I could definitely see where Hunter S. picked up some of his writing style.

  • my coworker gave me this book with a high recommendation and it didn't disappoint. it's full of strange words like calaboose and cleverly written commentary. it did drag a bit when mencken got onto topics that weren't so interesting to me.

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