Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim

Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim Review

The first and definitive biography of one of America's bestselling, notorious, and influential writers of the twentieth century: Iceberg Slim, né Robert Beck, author of the multimillion-copy memoir Pimp and such equally popular novels as Trick Baby and Mama Black Widow. From a career as a, yes, ruthless pimp in the '40s and '50s, Iceberg Slim refashioned himself as the first and still the greatest of "street lit" masters, whose vivid books have made him an icon to such rappers as Ice-T, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg and a presiding spirit of "blaxploitation" culture. You can't understand contemporary black (and even American) culture without reckoning with Iceberg Slim and his many acolytes and imitators.

Literature professor Justin Gifford has been researching the life and work of Robert Beck for a decade, culminating in Street Poison, a colorful and compassionate biography of one of the most complicated figures in twentieth-century literature. Drawing on a wealth of archival material—including FBI files, prison records, and interviews with Beck, his wife, and his daughters—Gifford explores the sexual trauma and racial violence Beck endured that led to his reinvention as Iceberg Slim, one of America's most infamous pimps of the 1940s and '50s. From pimping to penning his profoundly influential confessional autobiography, Pimp, to his involvement in radical politics, Gifford's biography illuminates the life and works of one of American literature's most unique renegades.

Title:Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim

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    Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim Reviews

  • Trish

    “The best pimps keep a steel lid on their emotions…”At a time when white folk are finally hearing what black folk have been telling us for decades, this biography of pimp-turned-writer Iceberg S...

  • Cynthia

    I wasn’t sure what to expect with the biography about the legendary pimp Robert Beck. On the surface it would look like our world views, his and mine, would have no meeting place. Wrong. Beck lived ...

  • Nancy Oakes

    the brief version; you can look to my online reading journal here for more.First, thanks so very much to Doubleday for my copy. Having no idea who the hell was Iceberg Slim, I was in no great hurry t...

  • Chris Roberts

    Back to real time, this exploiter Robert Beck chose to cash-up...on the backs and knees of women, it's cowardly and he is no man...The book publisher whore's itself by putting this ode to victimizatio...

  • Kimberly Brown

    Ive been struggling to find something to read for a few months now, so when I saw this book while browsing on Amazon, I had to read it! My knowledge of Iceberg Slim started when I was very young, I wa...

  • Llew

    Impeccably researched, and I loved reading the old Iceberg Slim books, but how this tries to paint Beck/Slim as a kind of a victim of circumstances is just....gross. He lived a horrible life as a sadi...

  • J37

    This book is completely fascinating for the history it contains. I've yet to read any of Beck's books but regardless of your familiarity with the author's work the historical tidbits of a not much exa...

  • Kristine

    Street Poison by Justin Gifford is a free NetGalley ebook that I read during a lazy, won't-get-out-of-bed morning in early June. I had seen the documentary about Iceberg Slim that Gifford references i...

  • Carmen

    Ha, so this is where I am in my life. I totally enjoyed this academic approach to a biography of a pimp, because it took me back to reading Pimp: The Story of My Life, The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim, ...

  • Beverly

    Thoughts coming shortly....