THE BATHTUB HOAX by H.L. Mencken

THE BATHTUB HOAX

And Other Blasts And Bravos From the Chicago Tribune
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KIRKUS REVIEW

As introduced and edited by Robert McHugh, this collection of many shorter pieces present Mencken in the "role he liked best"- as a newspaperman- beginning with the featured, title piece which first appeared in the N.Y. Evening Mail in 1917. This "tissue of absurdities, all of them deliberate and most of them obvious" was written to test- and prove- his contention that the public is fatuously credulous. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first bathtub installation in Cincinnati, Ohio (solid mahogany, lead lined, weight 1,750 pounds) it provides a history of the bathtub from medical resistance thereto to public acceptance thereof- and of course, an even greater public acceptance of the whole hoax that it was. In the other pieces which follow, topically arranged, Mencken is the aggressive advocate of free expression and other liberties (birth control; equality before the law; etc.); he is a critic-Poe, Dreiser, Mark Twain, Beethoven, and on more general phases of the arts; he is the serious thinker and skeptic- and many matters concern him- religion and ethics, politics and government, education and language; and the collection closes with some forays on marriage or the movies, peace, progress, even cooking.... Even while some of the material may seem dated, the Sage of Baltimore is still very much alive- and the practical validity of his judgments as well as the downright vitality of the man endure.
ISBN: 0374955697
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1958




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