In Intellectuals, Paul Johnson offered a fascinating portrait of the minds that have shaped the modern world. In Creators, he examined a host of outstanding and prolific creative spirits. And in Heroes, he brought together a galaxy of legendary figures from the annals of Western history. Now, Johnson turns his impressive intellect and piercing insight to the greatest wits in the history of the Western world.
His is a selective survey across history, and includes a diverse cast of legendary humorists who got a grand kick out of life, including Benjamin Franklin and the Marx Brothers, Charles Dickens and Damon Runyon, W. C. Fields and Samuel Johnson, William Hogarth and James Thurber. Including dark humor, broad satire, bawdy wit, biting sarcasm, and more, this entertaining and erudite collection brings to life great minds who reflected on life’s follies, pretensions, and foibles with that greatest of gifts: humor.
Starting with a chapter about an illustrator, this audiobook is often frustrating but - surprise - the hardback contains no more illustrations than does the recording. Clive Chafer constantly sounds dismissive of all this nonsense, which does not help one digest the sometimes thick material. On the other hand, most of the stories are quite engaging, and the introduction to Nancy Mitford (perhaps the Dorothy Parker of Great Britain) made the book immensely satisfying.
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