Books: Summa Contra Mencken

THE BITTER SPRING (730 pp.)—Charles Angoff—Thomas Yoseloff ($5.95).

Hell hath no fury like an ex-disciple. Novelist and Editor Charles Angoff was sole editorial assistant to H. L. Mencken from 1925 to 1933. In recent years Russian-born, Harvard-educated Angoff has emerged as Mencken's chief literary assassin. Having fanged his ex-idol non-fictionally in H. L. Mencken: A Portrait from Memory, Angoff releases some fictional venom in The Bitter Spring. Mencken is portrayed as a loud-mouthed vulgarian and an intellectual fraud with but a single saving grace, his love of music.

The novel's liveliest scenes take place in the office of "the literary dictator of America,"...

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