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Mencken deserves credit for having written a book on Nietzsche at a time (1908) when almost nothing was available to English readers in translation. As an introduction to Nietzsche, however, this book is not very credible; it relies heavily on the distortions perpetuated by his sister, and does not really get into the works that more recent readers of Nietzsche treasure (The Genealogy of Morals, "The Uses and Abuses of History"). The person who's never read Mencken before (like me) will find the book valuable as a reflection of post-Victorian America, where Social Darwinism and outright racism abounded, both of which are to be found in Mencken's account. Charlton Griffin channels Mencken pretty well, embellishing the prose with oratorical and sarcastic flourishes that will definitely annoy some listeners and please others. All in all, there's not much Nietzsche to be found here, so I guess you have to take what you can get.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Charlton Griffin's narration is an over-the-top, guttural manly man's interpretation of both Mencken's crass plain dealing and Nietzsche's booming iconoclasm. The voice seems suitable for cowboy poetry, or History Channel nostalgia. For a book of philosophy, the effect accentuates the cheap melodrama in both the author and the philosopher, like a Wagnerian opera performed by a high school marching band. I can live with it, but it's a little silly.
As for the content: Mencken does not offer a nuanced reading of Nietzsche's ideas... maybe he's right, but he does have a remarkable ability of sucking the fun out of this philosopher. This book, Dionysus and philosophy by way of Baltimore, is of value to either Mencken or Nietzsche scholarship. It is not a fruitful introduction for the curious to either thinker.
23 of 31 people found this review helpful
Awful. He doesn't understand Nietzsche's philosophy at all. I gave it 2 stars because it contains some interesting stuff about Nietzsche's life, but beyond that is totally flawed.
Most grotesque is his failure to grasp what Nietzsche meant when he said "God is dead." Munchkin (as I think of him) seems to think Nietzsche advocated the search for absolute truth. He fails to grasp that to Nietzsche, God is the belief in one Truth.
When Nietzsche says, "The people haven't heard the news. That God is dead," he means that atheists are still believing in God without realising. They are worshipping Truth as an abstract concept.
Save your money and listen to the lectures of Hubert Dreyfus on Existentialism (for free) from iTunes university.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
An outrageous and over the top Rich Uncle Pennybags narration renders Mencken's introduction to Nietzsche unlistenable.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful