A lot of people don't like H.L. Mencken all that much.
I suppose the first criticism to be leveled at Mencken is that he's a good for nuthin'. He does not seem to like or get along with anyone, and, he is not a champion of the left.
But, when life happens, H.L. is there to record it while other writers tell us what they wish had happened.
He reports on the life the philosophers missed.
The same day as well I bought a book by a respected feminist, Audre Lorde one of whose other volumes I already had encountered in my little life. The first essay here (both books discovered through browsing the "critical essays" section of a nice store at Chicago and Franklin) was on her visit to Russia. This is in 1976. She calls the piece "Trip to Russia," which is dry and generic and just fine with me. What I have gotten out of it (what I have taken away so far as I don't really excel at reading a dense word count - I read what I needed, OK?) is Russia is somewhat different from New York City. That's all.
The rest is just detailing and various observations. From all of which my impression (or, I suppose, "take-away") is that sometimes Russia differs from N.Y.C. and sometimes it doesn't.