Book: The Trials of Lenny Bruce

A legal history of Lenny Bruce’s obscenity trials. This book is far more gripping than the subject matter might indicate. The authors document the series of misdemeanor obscenity trials which Lenny Bruce had to endure and which, arguably, contributed to his untimely death.

Bruce emerges from the book as a complex iconoclast hounded mercilessly by the authorities for daring to break cultural and religious taboos. Recommended.

A CD included with the book contains recordings of Bruce’s bits, interviews with other comedians, and some of Bruce’s secret recordings of his own trials. Just listening to a few of his bits makes me wish I could have seen him in person — he must have been an amazing performer.

Book: How to Talk Dirty and Influence People

Lenny Bruce’s autobiography is filled with fascinating accounts of his strange life and with his unique brand of pointed social commentary. Included are some of the court trials he was forced to endure, though he tends to brush over his drug problems which were far more real than he acknowledges.