Commentary Magazine

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- Abstract

He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad.” This is the first sentence of a once wildly popular, now entirely forgotten novel, Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche. The book came out in 1921, when Arnold Beichman was eight years old. He loved Sabatini, Arnold told me once, and then declaimed those wonderfully garish words. And in declaiming them, Arnold Beichman was speaking his autobiography.

Arnold loved to laugh—and argue, and eat, and drink, and fly planes, and ride motorbikes, and learn languages, and tell stories, and brag on his children and grandchildren, and tell more stories, and listen to your stories, and say kind things to you, and give Commies hell for their role in rendering the world mad.

About the Author

John Podhoretz is editor of COMMENTARY.