30 Satires

A leading political satirist skewers the pretensions and vanities of America’s equestrian classes

“Lewis Lapham hits the bull’s-eye of our nation’s ridiculousness.” —Vanity Fair

Widely celebrated for his political essays, Lewis Lapham is a satirist who belongs in the company of Ambrose Bierce, H.L. Mencken, and Mark Twain. Over the last twenty years he has experimented with satire in its several forms—as burlesque, pasquinade, invective, and deadpan jest.

This first assemblage of Lapham’s satires presents thirty pieces that hold their currency and humor against the tide of social and political change that has engulfed American society in recent times. He reduces to absurdity many of the topics of the day that are often treated portentiously: Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is retold to praise the virtues of remorseless greed; the hydrogen bomb is introduced as a solemn dinner guest who doesn’t play tennis or speak English; gene banks take the form of well-trained pigs that accompany their wealthy owners in the first-class cabins of transatlantic jets.


“Lapham’s indignation is ecumenical, his scorn spread as smoothly as butter from left to right and north to south across the face of contemporary America.”
The Boston Globe
“Lewis Lapham—born of Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken—is the most provocative and engaging essayist in the country.”
—George Plimpton
“Without doubt our greatest satirist, elegant, honorable, learned and fair. I love reading him.”
—Kurt Vonnegut
“One of the last liberal thinkers, a man of elegant humor. Should he wander onto the premises of Fox TV, he’d surely be shot down like a dog.”
—Liz Smith

News and Reviews

Books by Lewis Lapham

Pretensions to Empire
Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration

Lewis Lapham

Theater of War
In Which the Republic Becomes an Empire

Lewis Lapham