Trial by Fire: The True Story of a Woman's Ordeal at the Hands of the Law

Gerry L. Spence, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06075-6
Kim Pring of Cheyenne, a national baton-twirling champion, was a contestant in the 1979 Miss America pageant. Shortly thereafter, a story appeared in Penthouse magazine about a fictional baton-twirling Miss Wyoming who excelled at fellatio. Pring hired Spence, a well-known trial lawyer and author of Gunning for Justice, etc., to undertake a libel suit against the magazine. This book is the story of that trial and its subsequent appeals. Citing parallels throughout, going back to the 1487 Malleus Malificarum on the punishment of witches, Spence argues that women are still treated as sexually menacing repositories of evil and that society enjoys their victimization. Serious questions are raised by the Pring case, including what constitutes a public figure and whether fiction can be libelous. But Spence's book is too verbose and inundated with hyperbole and metaphor to effectively make his case, and no matter that his client was ultimately awarded some $25 million. 50,000 first printing. (June 30
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-688-14838-6
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