The American Credo

A Contribution Toward the Interpretation of the National Mind

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Author: H.L. Mencken
Co-author: George Jean Nathan
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 30,048 / 98 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 52.3
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 3,753
Added to site: 2007.12.15 19388
Genres: Essays, Criticism

The superficial, no doubt, will mistake this little book for a somewhat laborious attempt at jocosity. Because, incidentally to its main purpose, it unveils occasional ideas of so inordinate an erroneousness that they verge upon the ludicrous, it will be set down a piece of spoofing, and perhaps denounced as in bad taste. But all the while that main purpose will remain clear enough to the judicious. It is, in brief, the purpose of clarifying the current exchange of rhetorical gas bombs upon the subject of American ideals and the American character, so copious, so cocksure and withal so ill-informed and inconclusive, by putting into plain propositions some of the notions that lie at the heart of those ideals and enter into the very substance of that character.

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lian the country is a sort of savage wilderness in which everything else, from religion to beauty and from decent repose to human life, is sacrificed to profit. Italians cross the ocean in much the same spirit that our runaway school-boys used to go off to fight the Indians. Some, lucky, return home in a few years with fortunes and gaudy tales; others, succumbing to the natives, are butchered at their labour and buried beneath the cinders of hideous and God-forsaken mining towns. All carry the thought of escape from beginning to end; every Italian hopes to get away with his takings as soon as possible, to enjoy them on some hillside where life and property are reasonably safe from greed. So with the Russian, the Scandinavian, the Balkan hillman, even the Greek and Armenian. The picture of America that they conjure up is a picture of a titanic and merciless struggle for gold, with the stakes high and the contestants correspondingly ferocious. They see the American as one to whom nothing under the sun has any v


Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****

An amusing and cynical attack on the american people. If you like self-mockery and social criticism, you'll like this. Not everything he writes is quite right, perhaps, but this is readable and enjoyable.

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