"I thought I knew his story pretty well, but I learned a great deal from this book. It is a major contribution…" --George Carlin
10th Anniversary Edition--Includes a New Preface by the Authors
When it first came out in 2002, THE TRIALS OF LENNY BRUCE quickly established itself as the definitive work on Lenny Bruce's free speech battles over his provocative comedy.
THE TRIALS OF LENNY BRUCE takes the reader on a wild and tragicomic ride, as the renegade comedian is tried for obscenity in one city after another--San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, and New York. The book documents the free speech struggles of this immortal icon of American comedy who, by speaking his mind and fighting for the right to say what he wanted, paved the way for the comedians and satirists, like George Carlin and Louis CK, who followed him.
Not only did THE TRIALS OF LENNY BRUCE set the record straight on Lenny--being named one of the best books of the year by the L.A. Times--the authors led the push for the late comedian’s posthumous pardon in 2003 for his 1964 conviction on obscenity charges in New York, a first in New York legal history.
"Had he lived, Bruce would have had a lot to talk about with Ronald K.L. Collins and David M. Skover, the legal scholars who have written The Trials of Lenny Bruce, a play-by-play account of the comedian's many courtroom dramas. . . . Their descriptions of nightclub life in the early '60s are fascinating."
- Michael Pakenham
"Collins and Skover write with clarity and energy that utterly belie common impressions of lawyers' language as prolix and impenetrable....I have seldom, if ever, read better--more precise, evocative, set-in-perspective--court reporting than that in this book. It is entertaining, often exciting..."
Ron Collins and David Skover are friends. Ron lives in the East, David in the West. They have been writing together for almost three decades. Their work is a joint effort, with David manning the keys and Ron pacing.
They have coauthored four books together, The Death of Discourse (1996, 2005), The Trials of Lenny Bruce (2002), Mania (2013), and On Dissent (2013).
Ron, who grew up in Southern California and graduated from the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, is the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington Law School. David, who grew up in Wisconsin and earned his law degree from Yale, is the Frederic C. Tausend Professor of Constitutional Law at Seattle University. Both have written numerous scholarly articles (often together) in journals such as the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and in the Supreme Court Review.