Disturber of the Peace: The Life of H.L. Mencken

Jan. 29, 2011 – This is an excellent Blackstone audiobook recorded in 2008. The print edition would be nearly impossible to find I think since it was originally published in 1951. Author William Raymond Manchester did his master’s thesis on HL Mencken in 1947 with the cooperation and support of his subject. Mencken arranged for him to get a position at The Baltimore Sun, where he himself had spent much of his career. Henry Louis Mencken is probably not remembered by many of this generation. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore”, he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. He was also a vocal critic of the American political system and prone to outrageous opinions on almost every subject. Manchester spent a great deal of time with Mencken at the end of his life after he suffered a debilitating stroke that left him unable to read, write or articulate his thoughts.

The author’s affection for Mencken and his close personal relationship with him give this biography a dimension that is likely unmatched in other biographical treatments of Mencken’s life and works. I’ve always had a fondness for Mencken quotes and I loved learning more about his life through this very engaging and enjoyable biography!

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