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With a style that combined biting sarcasm with the "language of the free lunch counter," Henry Louis Mencken shook politics and politicians for nearly half a century. Now, fifty years after Mencken’s death, the Johns Hopkins University Press announces The Buncombe Collection, newly packaged editions of nine Mencken classics: Happy Days, Heathen Days, Newspaper Days, Prejud With a style that combined biting sarcasm with the "language of the free lunch counter," Henry Louis Mencken shook politics and politicians for nearly half a century. Now, fifty years after Mencken’s death, the Johns Hopkins University Press announces The Buncombe Collection, newly packaged editions of nine Mencken classics: Happy Days, Heathen Days, Newspaper Days, Prejudices, Treatise on the Gods, On Politics, Thirty-Five Years of Newspaper Work, Minority Report, and A Second Mencken Chrestomathy. These seventy political pieces from the 1920s and 1930s are drawn from Mencken's famous Monday columns in the Baltimore Evening Sun.


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With a style that combined biting sarcasm with the "language of the free lunch counter," Henry Louis Mencken shook politics and politicians for nearly half a century. Now, fifty years after Mencken’s death, the Johns Hopkins University Press announces The Buncombe Collection, newly packaged editions of nine Mencken classics: Happy Days, Heathen Days, Newspaper Days, Prejud With a style that combined biting sarcasm with the "language of the free lunch counter," Henry Louis Mencken shook politics and politicians for nearly half a century. Now, fifty years after Mencken’s death, the Johns Hopkins University Press announces The Buncombe Collection, newly packaged editions of nine Mencken classics: Happy Days, Heathen Days, Newspaper Days, Prejudices, Treatise on the Gods, On Politics, Thirty-Five Years of Newspaper Work, Minority Report, and A Second Mencken Chrestomathy. These seventy political pieces from the 1920s and 1930s are drawn from Mencken's famous Monday columns in the Baltimore Evening Sun.

30 review for On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Barber

    Proof that, even in the age of trump, there is nothing new under the sun.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roman Di

    H.L. Mencken had to have been possessed with a sense of political prophecy like few others. His acerbic style and pronounced adversarial role glaring at the issues of his time appear to be most appropriate even now. The one glaring example from his writings in the 1920's suggests strongly his ability to look into the future, providing us this: "On some great and glorious day, the plain folk of the land will reach their heart's desires and, at long last, the White House will be adorned with a do H.L. Mencken had to have been possessed with a sense of political prophecy like few others. His acerbic style and pronounced adversarial role glaring at the issues of his time appear to be most appropriate even now. The one glaring example from his writings in the 1920's suggests strongly his ability to look into the future, providing us this: "On some great and glorious day, the plain folk of the land will reach their heart's desires and, at long last, the White House will be adorned with a downright moron!" Does this suggest, given our present circumstance that Mr. Mencken was correct? I think so. A Carnival of Buncombe belongs in everyone political library. Send one to your Congressman … it is urgently needed!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Falk

    The research continues .... This collection of essays from Harding to "Roosevelt Minor" is heavily oriented toward presidential electoral politics. It is fascinating anyway (and not so dated) due to the captivating, mellifluous opprobrium and delightful humor of Mencken's prose. Some Mencken fans (and others) may be dismayed by some of his voting choices (and his constant misunderstanding/misuse of the concept selfishness). While this anthology could have used some end notes (even in 1956, when i The research continues .... This collection of essays from Harding to "Roosevelt Minor" is heavily oriented toward presidential electoral politics. It is fascinating anyway (and not so dated) due to the captivating, mellifluous opprobrium and delightful humor of Mencken's prose. Some Mencken fans (and others) may be dismayed by some of his voting choices (and his constant misunderstanding/misuse of the concept selfishness). While this anthology could have used some end notes (even in 1956, when it was first published shortly after Mencken's death), editor Malcolm Moos did a decent job of contextualizing the pieces in section introductions and providing a "glossary" (list of historical personages). Next: "Treatise on the Gods" (Mencken's personal favorite) ....

  4. 5 out of 5

    Skjam!

    The 2016 presidential election campaign has already begun, so let’s take a look at a book about elections of the past, shall we? H.L. Mencken (1880-1948) was a newspaperman, most famously on the Baltimore, Maryland Sun. For a number of years, he had a weekly opinion column published on Mondays. These 69 essays are focused primarily on presidential politics between 1920 and 1936. That covers Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and the first two elections of Franklin Delano Roosevelt The 2016 presidential election campaign has already begun, so let’s take a look at a book about elections of the past, shall we? H.L. Mencken (1880-1948) was a newspaperman, most famously on the Baltimore, Maryland Sun. For a number of years, he had a weekly opinion column published on Mondays. These 69 essays are focused primarily on presidential politics between 1920 and 1936. That covers Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and the first two elections of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mr. Mencken skewers them all, as well as other politicians and public figures of the time. He was famous for his barbs, and is eminently quotable. For example “…going into politics is as fatal to a gentleman as going into a bordello is fatal to a virgin.” It’s interesting to see what has changed about politics since the first half of the Twentieth Century, and what has remained the same. It’s still amusing to watch a party’s primary candidates tear each other to shreds, then have to work together as best buddies once the party has an official nominee. On the other hand, the Republican and Democratic parties of the time are barely recognizable as the organizations they are now. (One can see the beginnings of the policy flips that lost the Dems the KKK vote.) Mr. Mencken has a wide vocabulary and many useful words that may come in handy for your own writing. But be warned that he also uses some ethnic slurs that were common at the time. His views are progressive on some subjects, but highly reactionary on others, and he’s not afraid to speak his mind. Mr. Mencken is particularly hard on Methodists and Baptists, who he feels bullied the country into Prohibition (which Mencken was against.) H.L. Mencken did support some politicians on an individual basis, but was quick to edit his own memory of their performance when they disappointed him. One also has to remember that he had a reputation as a curmudgeon to uphold. To cover the major players, Warren G. Harding was a compromise candidate chosen for not having particularly strong views on anything; Calvin Coolidge was even less impressive (unless one takes the Jeffersonian dictum that “the government is best that governs least” in which case he is one of the greatest presidents.) Herbert Hoover was sold to America as exactly the kind of person who could fix a financial crisis should one pop up–he wasn’t. And FDR would have been better suited to the job of king. Interesting historical perspective: Mr. Mencken writes several times about the perception that Hoover was too close to the British, something that didn’t get any play in the little I heard about him in school. This collection was put together in the 1950s with the aid of political history scholar Malcolm Moos; it already needed an extensive “glossary” of names mentioned in the columns to remind people of who they’d been. Even with the glossary and index, some knowledge of early 20th Century American politics is vital to the reader getting anything but a few chuckles out of the text. My copy is in bad shape, as you can see, but the book has been reprinted a few times, so check your library or used book store. Recommended to students of American politics in the first half of the 20th Century.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zeno Izen

    A collection of writings by HL Mencken. Most of the items in this book are related to US electoral politics, mentioning names and events that might be unfamiliar to contemporary readers. However, Mencken is always amusing, even when the subject matter is no longer relevant.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Varmint

    mencken running amok through the political herds.

  7. 4 out of 5

    James W. Harris

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edward Waverley

  9. 5 out of 5

    BookSwim.com Book Rental Online

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Cosyn

  12. 4 out of 5

    John Prothro

  13. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Mackey

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mike Wigal

  16. 5 out of 5

    Khangol

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alex Njoroge

  19. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Olson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Link

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christian

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Constantine

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  25. 5 out of 5

    A.p. Eberhart

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jwdeming

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karl

  29. 4 out of 5

    Frank Forman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Trenton Hayes

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