Despite access to some of the finest minds of his time (he died in 1956, age 75), [Mencken] missed practically every important historic current swirling around him. Though he claimed great interest in science, there is little evidence that he recognized the wonders on the horizon. He also missed the rise and fall of dictatorship, and dismissed democracy’s challenge to the dictators as demagoguery. Hitler struck him as “a shabby ass” and an Austrian William Jennings Bryan. As he saw it, World War II was “a wholly dishonorable and ignominious business. I believe that that will be history’s verdict upon it.” On large matters he was almost always wrong.