- Author: Lewis H. Lapham
- Publisher: New Press
- Published: April 2005
- ISBN-10: 1565849868
- ISBN-13: 9781565849860
- Format: Paperback
- Copyright: 2005
- Subject: POLITICAL SCIENCE / General
Widely celebrated for his political essays, Lewis Lapham is a satirist who belongs in the company of Ambrose Bierce, H.L. Mencken, and Mark Twain. Over the last twenty years, he has experimented with satire in its several forms - as burlesque, pasquinade, invective, and deadpan jest. This first assemblage of Lapham's satires presents thirty pieces that hold their currency and humor against the tide of social and political change that has engulfed American society inrecent times. Written with pointed and often savage wit, they skewer the pretensions and vanities of America's equestrian classes.
Here are 30 tart mental bomblets gathered from 20 years of Lapham's monthly column in Harper's, where he is also editor. Dating from 1984 to this year, the entries in this deceptive little book skewer nearly everything in American life, from the Kennedys-as-royalty, through the construction of a hit film (sausage-making is cleaner), to the modern Scrooge, converted from misguided do-goodism to greed. The cumulative effect of sequentially reading one Lapham piece after another is shock therapy for the intellect, exposing all that is flabby and sentimental. Lapham's mastery of style takes him through various genres, ranging from mock-Italian opera, through the letter of advice, to advertising copy. However, despite careful selection, these funhouse windows on the recent past still show how the crisis du jour becomes "who?" in a few years. Lapham's designated audience is highly intellectual, and collections of history, literature, and journalism would welcome its condensed lessons.-Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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