The Real Reasons You Need to Read Mark Steyn's New Book

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Why, yes, Mark Steyn does mention me in his new book, thanks.

Twice.

But leaving aside pages 228 and 409 for a moment:

Why (else) should you read The (Un)documented Mark Steyn?

For the same reason you'd buy -- and maybe gift someone -- The Who Hits 50! or Sound System:

Because a "greatest hits" collection -- and that's what Steyn's new book is -- is an ideal way to either introduce yourself to an artist's work, or have all the "good ones"  in one convenient package.

So no more having to google "Martha + Stewart + coxcomb + topiary" when Christmas rolls around.

If you're looking for that pithy Mark Steyn quote that you just know will be perfect for your next best man speech or poli-sci 101 term paper, you'll probably find it in here.

But while these columns have been previously published, remember:

The collection includes over 80 (!) columns that Steyn has written for various newspapers around the world.

That means, for example, that non-Canadian readers will likely encounter for the first time samples of Steyn's writing for Maclean's magazine and the National Post, which is where I first made his acquaintance.

In those pre-9/11, pre-America Alone days, Steyn's columns were still political for the most part. Back then, however, our preoccupations were (in retrospect) more trivial.

Steyn nods to this fact in his all-new introduction. He looks back at a 1998 alt-history piece in which, a la "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," he's unable to set up an interview with Monica Lewinsky, so he settles for a chat with her infamous dress instead.

Since the scandal, we're informed, "that dress" has undergone "extensive reconstruction surgery" and has been "living quietly as a pair of curtains in Idaho."

Steyn acknowledges that writing such pieces was great fun, but:

...then came the new century and the new war, and I felt like Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca when she tells Bogey, "I put that dress away. When the Germans march out, I'll wear it again." I put Monica's dress away. When the jihadists march out, I'll wear it again.

If they made Casablanca today, of course, someone would force Bergman to mouth the words, "...some Germans."

Steyn has always been one of the finest satirists of such political correctness and other fashionable pieties.

This talent is on particular display in The (Un)documented Mark Steyn because it also includes examples of Steyn's live, free-association musings when he's guest-hosted The Rush Limbaugh Show.

One afternoon, he walked listeners through "the cheery cut-out 'n' keep guide" to the safe disposal of those newfangled (and hardly harmless) new "curly" lightbulbs we're all obliged to use now.

These instructions sound more like a handbook for evacuating Chernobyl, except I don't think those Russian citizens needed a deck of playing cards (!?) to ensure their safety.

And two mason jars. And...

You don't just need the drop cloth and the baby wipes and the pack of playing cards and the two mason jars and the new carpet, you also need additional items -- like an eye dropper.  (...)

For a century, Edison's light bulb was regarded as a beacon of American genius; then it became a "climate criminal." That transformation is American decline in a nutshell.

As an added bonus:

Every time someone buys a copy of The (Un)documented Mark Steyn, Michael Mann gets a (metaphorical) poke in the eye.

(It's like the bell-ringing proverb in It's a Wonderful Life, except here, the "angel" is really a devil...)

Michael "Discredited Climate Change Hockey Stick" Mann is suing Steyn for mocking him in the pages of National Review.

Among his many other faults, Mann gets cranky when readers give his books poor reviews on Amazon.

Why not boost Steyn's five-star reviews and give Mann something else to sulk over?

If you've already read The (Un)documented Mark Steyn, share your thoughts in our comments!

Now I have to go peek at page 228 again.