Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mencken: The American Iconoclast” as Want to Read:
Mencken: The American Iconoclast
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mencken: The American Iconoclast

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
A towering figure on the American cultural landscape, H.L. Mencken stands out as one of our most influential stylists and fearless iconoclasts--the twentieth century's greatest newspaper journalist, a famous wit, and a constant figure of controversy.
Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has written the definitive biography of Mencken, the most illuminating book ever published about t
...more
Hardcover, 662 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mencken, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mencken

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
George
Jan 03, 2014 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WONDERFULLY ICONOCLASTIC.

“He pummeled censorship, Prohibition, and hypocritical Puritanism with equal ardor. The defense of individual freedom always brought out the best of his powers, and the suppression of civil liberties became one of his dominant targets, bringing it more fully into the mainstream of public discourse.”—page 227/673

Standard disclaimer: In my personal pantheon of heroes, Henry Louis Mencken has long been idealized, lionized, and even damn near canonized, as one of the all-tim
...more
Matthew W
Apr 18, 2010 Matthew W rated it it was amazing
How ironic that the most extensive biography covering the controversial life of the author of "In Defense of Women" was written by a beautiful woman. Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has no doubt written the most intimate(using mainly primary sources) work on the life of Baltimore's greatest sage H.L. Mencken. I am sure Mencken would have been flattered to have read Rodger's wonderful book.
deLille
My husband is laughing because my copy of this book has oodles of different colored sticky tabs sticking out from the different pages, each one marking something that Mencken said that I wanted to highlight. (Yes, I know, it's time to get a Kindle and electronically highlight all those passages, but I can't help myself. I just love books. Each one has its own personality... its feel, its heft, its typeset, the texture and smell of its pages... all of this is lost on a Kindle.)

I absolutely loved
...more
Andrew
Nov 22, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it
A biography of Mencken that updates ones by William Manchester and Charles A. Fecher. It underscores the popularity of the iconoclast in the beginning of the 20th Century for his stands on censorship, Prohibition, evangelicals -- and particularly his American literary criticism. Later he would become rabidly anti-government (or anti-New Deal) and gradually become disengaged from popular culture because of his dislike of movies, radio and television.

In a sense Henry L. Mencken was a Victorian pro
...more
Pat Rolston
Feb 24, 2016 Pat Rolston rated it it was amazing
I wanted to learn more about Mencken the man and his personal history before further reading of his essays, Prejudices: The Complete Series. Marion Rogers is a new author for me and I am thrilled to have found her book biography documenting HR Mencken. This is one of the best written biographies I have had the pleasure to read and HR Mencken turns out for me to be one of the best subjects. His worldview has been validated by history while those areas from which he diverged are less profound than ...more
Victoria Miller
Mar 20, 2015 Victoria Miller rated it it was amazing
Until I read this book, I knew little about H.L. Mencken, other than being familiar with the name. After reading this book, I feel like he is a personal friend. Additionally, I was amazed at how much I learned of American history that you don't learn from the American history books. Henry Mencken was a very complex and unique individual, who had no qualms about saying what was on his mind, no matter how many people railed against him and shook their fists (and probably many threw things). He ...more
Jeff
Aug 06, 2009 Jeff rated it it was amazing
I haven't given a book five stars since creating my Goodreads account, so now is as good a time as any.

Mencken, like me, was a big fan of the word "mountebank".
Scott Silverman
Jan 14, 2013 Scott Silverman rated it it was amazing
Hits all the right notes. Take Twain, add acid-- enjoy Mencken.
Joy H.
Apr 22, 2016 Joy H. marked it as skimmed-partially
Added 3/20/16. (first published January 1st 2005)
I know I'll never be able to finish reading this tome but I'm going to try to savor as much of it as I can. I've borrowed it from our public library. Too bad they don't have it as an audio book.

4/22/16 - I skimmed parts of this book. Pretty dense reading. While some of it interested me, much of it dealt with areas in which I had no interest. Of course, Mencken was a very witty man and it's fun reading some of his comments. I got the impression he
...more
Voices Of
Feb 07, 2009 Voices Of rated it really liked it
I just finished reading this book and if you want to learn about one of the most influential journalists of the early 20th century this is a great place to start. Mencken was a consistent defender of freedom of speech and particularly the freedom (and responsibility) of the press to question the actions of those in power. He was constantly a gadfly to the media inciting them to be skeptical of the motives of our leaders. Quite an interesting man. This book was written well enough that it ...more
Josh
Feb 07, 2009 Josh rated it really liked it
I just finished reading this book and if you want to learn about one of the most influential journalists of the early 20th century this is a great place to start. Mencken was a consistent defender of freedom of speech and particularly the freedom (and responsibility) of the press to question the actions of those in power. He was constantly a gadfly to the media inciting them to be skeptical of the motives of our leaders. Quite an interesting man. This book was written well enough that it did not ...more
Robert Maier
Apr 13, 2012 Robert Maier rated it really liked it
The tale of Mencken's life is fascinating and illuminating. The writing is a little disjointed and the time periods are frequently interwoven, and you get off track. It's a book written by a thorough researcher, who never quite grasped how to juggle simultaneous events into a smooth narrative arc. She makes a valiant try, but maybe the editors were too much in a hurry to get it out, and just abandoned the attempts for chronological clarity for the sake of expediency. In his own books, Mencken ...more
Pnorman811
Apr 09, 2008 Pnorman811 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I've been reading this slowly for months. It is a good introduction to the man. He has so much to offer in his views of the U.S in the early last century and of people in general. I will probably be exploring books written BY him and about him in the future.
W.T.
Dec 16, 2013 W.T. rated it it was amazing
THE BAD-BOY OF BALTIMORE!!! Hunter Thompson had a great admiration for this man as he fought against censorship long before it was hip. My admiration for Thompson got me reading into the people that he admired...Thanks to The Good Doctor.
Thombeau
Jun 29, 2012 Thombeau rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Extremely readable, fact-filled bio on the influential and controversial writer and pundit H.L. Mencken. Seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Al Friedman
Al Friedman rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2015
Translation
Translation rated it liked it
Nov 05, 2016
Jon
Jon rated it liked it
Jun 28, 2013
Jared Wales
Jared Wales rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2016
nobody
nobody rated it liked it
Apr 18, 2012
Harry
Harry rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2012
Brian Faulkner
Brian Faulkner rated it really liked it
May 11, 2014
Chris
Chris rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2008
Paula
Paula rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2011
Mattcale3
Mattcale3 rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2009
Chester Ferrer
Chester Ferrer rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2014
John Hatch
John Hatch rated it really liked it
May 27, 2013
Evans Donnell
Evans Donnell rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2014
Scott Phillips
Scott Phillips rated it really liked it
Mar 20, 2016
Garry Wilmore
Garry Wilmore rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Religious Orgy in Tennessee: A Reporter's Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism
  • The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • PT 109
  • William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible
  • Atheists in America
  • Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism
  • Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959-1975
  • Mr. America: How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Macfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and the Ultimate Starvation Diet
  • It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny Life of Mel Brooks
  • A People's History of the Civil War: Struggles for the Meaning of Freedom
  • A Girl From Schindlers List
  • Life of the Party: The Biography of Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman
  • Brando: The Biography
  • Mussolini
  • The Gonzo Tapes: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
  • Beware Dangerism!
  • Drug Crazy: How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out

Share This Book