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Publisher's Summary

This fine biography of H. L. Mencken tells of how he rose to his unique position as comic genius and pre-eminent critic of American culture. It is the story of a man whose massive power of invective inspired and infuriated his contemporaries and whose popularity and unpopularity mounted with the frenzied pace of the 1920s. Mencken sounded a loud, jarring note to a world governed by conformity and never hesitated to express his contempt for every kind of hypocrite, fake, and narrow-minded censor.

Here also is Mencken's human side, not just his rambunctious wit but also his courtesy and hospitality, his support of struggling writers, and his personal foibles. What emerges is a compelling portrait of an extraordinary man.

First released in 1951, this edition includes a new introduction and final chapter.

©1979 William Manchester; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall

A Revelation

This beautifully written, superbly narrated biography of H.L. Mencken seduced me with its language and insight into an amazingly complex enigma of a writer. I had never read anything by either Mencken or Manchester and this book proved a revelation to me. All I new of Mencken was his name as mentioned in movies of the 30's and in Inherit the Wind and his reputation as a tart-tongued pundit, so I was surprised by the breadth of his work. As a result, I have already ordered one Mencken book in paperback from Amazon (sadly not available in either audible or Kindle) and will investigate other Manchester bios in my preferred formats.
Anthony Heald's narration is marvelous - sarcastic, boisterous, warm, sad, or sweet by turns as appropriate to the text. This audio book is highly recommended.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A fascinating biography of a very eccentric genius

If you could sum up Disturber of the Peace in three words, what would they be?

Fun. Informative. Well-written

What did you like best about this story?

I will read anything William Manchester wrote. I love his flair for story telling and making you understand Menchen.<br/><br/><br/>

Have you listened to any of Anthony Heald’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, new listener but satisfied

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An American original

If you're interested in America in the 1920s and 1930s, journalism and criticism, and the life of an American original, there's a lot to like in this book. The chapters on Mencken's late-in-life marriage and on the end of his life where Manchester read to him are moving. There are bits and pieces of Mencken's own writing, but not enough, and for that, one needs to read elsewhere. Some of his work remains in print, as it should.

Manchester delivers a caring, careful bio. If you like the form, this is an excellent specimen.

Am glad I read it, but think I'd get more from Mencken's own work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well Written and Well Narrated

I loved this book! I'm a fan of HL Mencken but didn't know much about all the things he had done in his lifetime. William Manchester's obvious affection and his personal relationship with Mencken comes through in his prose and how he tells his story. I thought it was riveting. And the narrator did an great job with the reading. I highly recommend it - especially since the book, published in 1951, is no longer in print.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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refreshing

Mencken was a very complex character. Manchester knew him. Mencken was frequently wrong. he was also frequently right. he is very current and relevant as we c watch the Re biblical party against start to self-destruct with right wing nonsense.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful