The Skeptic, by Terry Teachout

Most adult Americans know something about H. L. Mencken even without having read anything he wrote. They know Mencken as a prose stylist, an iconoclast, a nemesis of rubes, an irascible foe of unbridled political power or a major eyewitness and scribe of the "Scopes monkey trial." Even a half-century after his death a folksy mystique surrounds the "Sage of Baltimore." Whatever his faults and sharp edges, he garners populist esteem as someone who could be relied on to speak forcefully, fearlessly and plainly. Terry Teachout's book makes clear the energy of Mencken's writing and editing, his breathtaking industry in writing so much and so variously over so many years, and the steadfastness with which he held to his beliefs.

 

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