Books: Bitter Wit

MANK by Richard Meryman

Morrow; 351 pages; $12.95

In the '20s, Columnist Alexander Woollcott called Herman Mankiewicz the funniest man in New York, a town that then included Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, Dorothy Parker and other luminaries of the Algonquin Round Table. As a screenwriter in the Hollywood of the '30s and '40s, "Mank" continued to shoot from the quip. Dining at the home of a pretentious gourmet, he suddenly rushed to the bathroom. "Don't worry," he assured his host later, "the white wine came up with the fish." When movie attendance dropped,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!