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"Dirty Works" Documents 20th Century's Legal Fight for Free Expression

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This impressive book sheds light on the entangled, age-old relationship of laws, progress, and morality. Gary has written a compelling tour de force.

Nadine Strossen, Former President of The American Civil Liberties Union
Book Cover for Brett Gary's "Dirty Works: Obscenity on Trial in America's First Sexual Revolution"

Dirty Works: Obscenity on Trial in America's First Sexual Revolution (Stanford University Press, 2021) by Professor Brett Gary documents the writers, sex educators, birth control activists, and public intellectuals who ran afoul of stiff obscenity laws in the first half of the 20th century.

The ensuing courtroom battles on topics like sexual freedom and reproductive rights established legal precedents recognizing the people's right to freely consume media.

Brett Gary is a cultural historian and Associate Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Gary is the author of The Nervous Liberals: Propaganda Anxieties from World War I to the Cold War (Columbia University Press). He is a recipient of NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Steinhardt School’s Teaching Excellence Award. His teaching and research interests include American cultural, legal, and political history, film and history, Hollywood film and masculinity, and censorship in American culture.

Brett Gary

Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

bjg4@nyu.edu

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