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In Defense of Women

In Defense of Women by Henry L. Mencken
By: (1880-1956)

In Defense of Women is H. L. Mencken’s 1918 book on women and the relationship between the sexes. Some laud the book as progressive while others brand it as reactionary. While Mencken didn’t champion women’s rights, he described women as wiser in many novel and observable ways, while demeaning average men. According to Mencken’s biographer, Fred Hobson: Depending on the position of the reader, he was either a great defender of women’s rights or, as a critic labelled him in 1916, ‘the greatest misogynist since Schopenhauer’,'the country’s high-priest of woman-haters.’

First Page:


by H. L. Mencken


Introduction I The Feminine Mind II The War between The Sexes III Marriage IV Woman Suffrage V The New Age


As a professional critic of life and letters, my principal business in the world is that of manufacturing platitudes for tomorrow, which is to say, ideas so novel that they will be instantly rejected as insane and outrageous by all right thinking men, and so apposite and sound that they will eventually conquer that instinctive opposition, and force themselves into the traditional wisdom of the race. I hope I need not confess that a large part of my stock in trade consists of platitudes rescued from the cobwebbed shelves of yesterday, with new labels stuck rakishly upon them. This borrowing and refurbishing of shop worn goods, as a matter of fact, is the invariable habit of traders in ideas, at all times and everywhere. It is not, however, that all the conceivable human notions have been thought out; it is simply, to be quite honest, that the sort of men who volunteer to think out new ones seldom, if ever, have wind enough for a full day's work... Continue reading book >>

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - May 11, 2015
Subject: In Defense of Women
This book was my first experience with Mencken. Aghast at the first listen, it took me a second listen to grasp the true nature of the observational humor. I would compare Mencken to Twain (my favorite) for his comprehensive understanding of the sad aspects of human nature, and his ability to wrap it in a palatable veneer of razor sharp sarcasm and depth of wit. Incidentally, the reader for this has the most absolute PERFECT VOICE for the material. I almost felt as though Mencken himself was rendering a personal reading for only me. The reader's execution was flawless.

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