7 Dirty Words by James Sullivan
The Life and Crimes of George Carlin

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In Seven Dirty Words, journalist and cultural critic James Sullivan tells the story of Alternative America from the 1950s to the present, from the singular vantage point of George Carlin, the Catholic boy for whom nothing was sacred. A critical biography, Seven Dirty Words is an insightful (and, of course, hilarious) examination of Carlin’s body of work as it pertained to its cultural times and the man who created it, from his early days as amore-or-less conventional comedian to his stunning transformation into the subversive comedic voice of the emerging counterculture. Sullivan also chronicles Carlin’s struggles with censorship and drugs, as well as the full-blown renaissance he experienced in the 1990s, both personally and professionally, when he became an elder statesman to a younger generation of comics who revered him. Seven Dirty Words is nothing less than the definitive biography of an American master who changed the world, and also a work of cultural commentary which frames George Carlin’s extraordinary legacy.

About James Sullivan

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James Sullivan is the author of Seven Dirty Words, The Hardest Working Man, and Jeans. He has written extensively for the Boston Globe, and previously served as a feature writer and culture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. He has spent considerable time, including his honeymoon, on the islands.
Published June 4, 2010 by Da Capo Press. 285 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for 7 Dirty Words

Publishers Weekly

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A recipient of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, stand-up comedian Carlin (1937–2008) wrote three bestselling humor books and looked back over his five-decade career in

Mar 29 2010 | Read Full Review of 7 Dirty Words: The Life and C...

Star Tribune

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In "7 Dirty Words," James Sullivan provides a fascinating and funny account of comedian George Carlin's career that explains his enduring contributions to American culture. But he doesn't fully capture the texture and intensity of the shift, late in Carlin's career, from "blue" to "black."

Aug 07 2010 | Read Full Review of 7 Dirty Words: The Life and C...

The Washington Times

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This book, written by James Sullivan (a pop culture writer whose earlier books were on James Brown and blue jeans), makes a good companion piece to Carlin’s posthumously published 2008 autobiography, “Last Words: A Memoir.” Whereas Carlin tells you how it felt and suggests what it may have meant ...

Aug 13 2010 | Read Full Review of 7 Dirty Words: The Life and C...

AV Club

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In particular, it covers Carlin’s troubles with the law over his free use of American vernacular, specifically his 1972 arrest in Milwaukee for swearing, and the Supreme Court’s 1978 decision in favor of the FCC, after New York radio station WBAI aired Carlin’s “Filthy Words” routine from his 197...

Jun 03 2010 | Read Full Review of 7 Dirty Words: The Life and C...

Dallas News

By ALLEN BARRA / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News Allen Barra's latest book, Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, is now available in paperback.

Jun 20 2010 | Read Full Review of 7 Dirty Words: The Life and C...

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