Astringent commentator, this one time the Idol of the youth of the '20's, became -- according to Barzun- the "Monumental Mencken" of the 40's. Now, posthumously, the jottings of his notebooks have been brought together. They reveal him to the end the iconoclast, the debunker. In a sense this supplements A Mencken Chrestomathy (published in 1949, and culled from his famous Prejudices), but it has less cohesion, is more repetitive and unselective. In the main the material consists of brief notes, out of which something might eventually have developed. Here are germs of his theories on crime and punishment, on new ideas, on the emotional stimulus of war, on survival after death, on the new leisure, on the failures of education, on the reading of newspapers, on the franchise- right or privilege?- on the unreliability of history, on the fallacies concerning the Southerner and the Negro, etc. Two major themes can be picked out as dominant:- the lesser one of his scorn for the New Deal, his hatred of Roosevelt; the major one of his cynicism about religion, particularly Christianity in all its forms (Christian Science and Catholicism come in perhaps for the hardest jabs). Somehow, Mencken read today fails to shock, to challenge, though he can still provide the quotable epigram.