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However, more inside baseball giving solid evidence of Rogers’ impact on the nation - letters between politicians, some memos from FDR, even those from a radio or movie executive, if available - would have added more dimension to this otherwise entertaining book. Footnotes give brief biographical synopsis to names that, to another generation, are easily familiar. But then, Mr. White teaches at Louisiana State University, so, ergo, he is in a profession that, as one of my academic friends said, means dealing with students who come to the classroom “seldom and often unprepared save for their firm belief that they are due an A or at least a B+.”

Still, Mr. White has written an intelligent history that crosses generations, bringing to life an American original who, in his day, was bigger than Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of ‘em combined.

Marion Elizabeth Rodgers is the biographer of “Mencken: The American Iconoclast,” now out in paperback.