In a spirited expansion on his law review article, ""Fuck,"" Ohio State Univ. law professor Fairman explores the origin and the affect of perhaps the most notorious word in the English language. Fairman begins with a catalog and limited history of the word, including usages sexual and non-sexual. In tracking down the word's origins-largely unknown-and the abundance of court cases involving it, Fairman highlights the long struggle of conservative forces to expel that word, and other forms of speech, from American society, in direct opposition to the first amendment. Fairman also addresses the downfalls inherent to the amendment, including the exception for speech used to incite violence, and the myriad of punishments used, at state and national levels, to deal with those exceptions. Drawing from a vast selection of historical documentation, Fairman also explores the nature of taboo and related trivia, such as the word's usage across gender lines. Austere and informative, Fairman's social history is uncompromising in its vigilant defense of first amendment rights, both in spite of his subject's potential for offense, and because of it.