Many books have been written about comedian Richard Pryor, but none have really done the legendary funnyman justice. Until now, that is.

Becoming Richard Pryor traces Pryor’s life from his days growing up in his grandmother’s Peoria, Ill. brothel all the way to his subversive Hollywood stardom. Author Scott Saul hammers home Pryor’s importance not just to standup comedy, but to American culture as a whole.

He also has curated this incredible website about Pryor’s life, which features rare photo and video footage of the comedian’s younger days.

If you aren’t familiar with Pryor’s standup work, here are a few clips:

[via The Stacks]