Barney Rosset acquired the fledgling Grove Press in 1951 and soon embarked on a tumultuous career of publishing and political engagement that continues to inspire today's defenders of free expression. Not only was he the first American publisher of acclaimed authors Samuel Beckett, Kenzaburo Oe, Tom Stoppard, Che Guevara, and Malcolm X, but he also battled the government in the highest courts to overrule the obscenity ban on groundbreaking works of fiction such as "Lady Chatterley's Lover," "Tropic of Cancer" and "Naked Lunch." Ultimately he won and altered the course of history, but not without first enduring lawsuits, death-threats, grenade attacks, government surveillance, and the occupation of his premises by enraged feminists. But the same unyielding and reckless energy Rosset used to publish and distribute controversial works such as Allen Ginsberg's "How!," the Swedish film "I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW)," and the provocative Evergreen Review, also brought him perilously close to destruction.
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