Author Spotlight: Ken Bresler

Author's Spotlight jstanley

We are excited to re-introduce a section on the Hein Blog called “Author’s Spotlight”.  This section will feature posts submitted from our authors on various topics relating to titles that they have published, or that provide an insider’s view as to the author’s perspective. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming post, or know an author who would, please email

This month we feature Ken Bresler, author of Mark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers, and Lawbreakers: Humorous Observations.

Ken Bresler on the research and publication of his Twain book:

I decided that I couldn’t be an authentic aficionado of Mark Twain without having read the body of his work. I had read some of his major works and some of his sketches, but in 2002 or so, I decided to read his work systematically. I read his long pieces, I read his short pieces and realized—this will not surprise you—that Twain had had outrageously funny things to say about lawyers and politicians.

I read a valentine he wrote in legalese and when I read more legal sketches, I decided that an anthology was in order—two anthologies, actually: one on law and lawyers and one on politics and government. And the two anthologies, I decided, would have both sketches and quotations.

Then I skimmed through five volumes of his letters, looking for quotations on law, politics, and government. This was before his letters were on-line and searchable.

I carefully verified quotations because an Internet reference wasn’t good enough for me. I needed to see the quotation in print and in context. Then I set out to find a publisher. I tried in vain and put the project aside.

I assumed that eventually I’d self-publish these two anthologies, but in the meantime, I had other projects to pursue. One was a textbook I was writing under contract. It eventually became Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice and Professionals.

When my original publisher backed out of the contract, I tried to locate a new publisher. W.S. Hein had published two of my books, Kissing Legalese Goodbye and The Workplace Writing Workbook. I called my editor, Sheila Jarrett, and pitched my textbook, whose manuscript was complete. She said: We could publish it, but we’re not the best publisher for it. I blurted out: What about Mark Twain and the law? She said: Now that, we’d take.

And she suggested that the two anthologies be combined into one. That’s how Mark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers , and Lawbreakers: Humorous Observations came to be published in 2014, eleven or twelve years after I started collecting material for it. (And my textbook got into print in 2014 through another publisher.)

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Twain cover REPRINT flattenedMark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers, and Lawbreakers

Mark Twain vs. Lawyers, Lawmakers, and Lawbreakers is an anthology of humorous sketches and quotations by America’s leading humorist, Mark Twain. The compilation covers two broad categories: law and lawyers, and government & politics. Many lesser known observations and quotations are included, many of which come from Twain’s abundant letters. Carefully researched and footnoted, the book includes only Twain quotations that can be verified. Footnotes are in Bluebook format, so that they can readily be inserted into legal pleadings.
  • Humorous sketches
  • Many lesser known observations and quotations of Twain
  • Quotations still as relevant today as when they were first written!
Item #:1000148
ISBN: 9780837739571
1 Volume……$37.50
Published: Buffalo; William S. Hein & Co., Inc.; 2014