Thirty-five Years of Newspaper Work: A Memoir by H. L. Mencken

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Johns Hopkins University Press, Sep 6, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
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In January 1991 the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened the sealed manuscript of H. L. Mencken's "Thirty-five Years of Newspaper Work." Written in 1941-42 and bequeathed to the library under time-lock upon Mencken's death in 1956, it is among the very last of his papers opened to the public. Thirty-five Years of Newspaper Work, a one-volume abridgement of Mencken's much longer memoir, vividly pictures the excitement of newspaper life in the heyday of print journalism. Here Mencken colorfully recalls his years - mostly with the Baltimore Evening Sun - as a reporter and a writer of editorials that always caused a stir among the public and uproars of indignation among his enemies. The volume includes important new material on his coverage of presidential candidates from 1912 to 1940 (Mencken on Harding's inaugural address: "a string of wet sponges") and the 1925 trial of the man he called the "infidel Scopes." Mencken also describes his brief stint as a war correspondent on Germany's subzero Eastern Front in 1917 and the perilous voyage back, which took him through Havana just as a revolution was breaking out. (He stayed to cover it.) He writes, with curious detachment, about the "inevitable" war and likely fate of Germany's Jews during a final visit to his ancestral homeland in summer 1938. And he describes colorful Baltimore personalities, shares local gossip, and offers candid - usually unflattering - portraits of the politicians and clerics he mostly despised.

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About the author (2006)

Henry Louis Mencken was born in Baltimore in 1880 and remained a lifelong resident. Opinionated and controversial, he wrote columns for the Baltimore Evening Sun that earned him a national reputation. He died in 1956.