BANNED! — Three Indecent Novels That Sent Booksellers to Jail & to the U.S. Supreme Court

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Three novels, banned as “indecent, lewd and obscene” in the late 1950s and early 1960s, that sent booksellers to jail for selling them and led to landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases…and that are tame by today’s standards

DESIGN FOR DEBAUCHERY by March Hastings

Originally published under the title Fear of Incest in 1960, and later retitled for a subsequent release. The book was one of 12 by March Hastings that were deemed “unmailable” by the US Postal Services, which called the books “obscene, lewd, lascivious and indecent.” For selling copies of this book, Samuel Dodd Williamson, a Los Angeles bookseller, was arrested, jailed and fined for criminal obscenity, a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who upheld the conviction.

The novel is about a family with wealth, prestige and the stature befitting their heritage. Yet beneath the veneer of respectability, smouldered a hidden evil. Why was the father so intent on securing the seduction of his own son? Why did the hauntingly beautiful Robin have a look of fear in her eyes?

TWISTED LOVE by Mark Tryon

Previously published as Sweeter Than Life and The Twisted Loves of Nym O’Sullivan. In 1953, undercover police officers in Los Angeles bought a copy of Sweeter Than Life from bookseller Eleazar Smith, charging him with obscenity. He was tried and found guilty. He appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in Smith’s favor. The court didn’t rule on the issue of whether Tryon’s book was obscene… rather they argued the ordinance made booksellers criminally liable for selling and stocking “obscene” books on their shelves, without proof the bookseller knew anything about the content of the books. The court decided this violated the due process clause of the 14th amendment.

Nym was so beautiful that she could have any man she wanted… if she’d wanted a man. The shocking story of a woman who hated men and used her body to lure them to disaster…while seducing women to satisfy her own carnal desires. A banned classic, back in print for the first time in sixty years!

Nym O’Sullivan, the daughter of a lesbian, grew up hating men. But she’s far too sexy a woman to avoid their attentions, and one even forces her into marriage. In revenge, she makes him a slave to her incredible body…using him, taking what he has, then laughing at his ruination. And with that same, beautiful body, she lures her young lover, Johnny Martel, into a scheme to destroy him and reward her with vast wealth.

At the same time, Nym seduces women, innocent girls like Lynn Rawlins, a little blonde who will never be the same after her careesses…

But will it all come crashing down on Nym?

VEIL OF TORMENT by March Hastings

This lesbian pulp classic was banned, deemed “unmailable” by the U.S. Postal Services, in 1960 and rated “indecent” in the U.S.A and Canada by the National Organization for Decent Literature. Now back in print for the first time in over sixty years.

Her blood raced, her body pulsed, her desire was a thing of madness.

There’s the Ivy Sherwood the public knew: the actress, the glamorous, beautiful darling of the stage, living a storybook life of champagne and roses with her glittering future ahead of her.

And then there’s Ivy off-stage, away from family and friends, prowling the streets, hardly recognizeable without make-up, her eyes shining with tension and craving, picking up any stranger, going into any dingy bedroom.

She’s running furiously through her days, seeking escape, needing release, fighting the passionate demon which lives inside her, torturing her, wildly demanding more liquor, more men, more women, anything to sate her uncontrollable sexual desire.

Also published as The Sherwood Scandal.