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Iceberg Slim Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Pimp (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trick Baby (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mama Black Widow (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Long White Con (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death Wish (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Doom Fox (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shetani's Sister (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Night Train to Sugar Hill (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Airtight Willy and Me (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon

Iceberg Slim, also known as Robert Beck, was born in 1918, on 4th August. His adventurous journey of life was reflected in his novels. Iceberg Slim and his story had the ability to connect with readers, many of whom are still able to connect with them which is what made Iceberg Slim into an icon.

The writer was born in Chicago and spent his childhood in Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Illinois. After that, he returned to Chicago as his mother thought that it was the best option after his father left them. He accepted that his mother was strong enough to earn a living for them. She gave him almost all the privileges that a middle-class kid would have which was quite rare at that time.

The writer got involved in the profession of a pimp at the age of 18. His frosty temperament in the business and slim figure earned him the name Iceberg Slim. In his autobiography, he has openly admitted that as a pimp he was ruthless and a hard manager.

After going to prison and serving for 10 months he realized that he was too old for pimping. He decided to Los Angeles in 1961 and started a new life with Betty Shue. She would become his wife and mother of three daughters. He changed his name to Robert Beck and started to work as a salesman of insecticide.

According to Beck, his wife inspired and encouraged him to write about his life while he liked the idea of writing a novel. At the start, he thought to do it as a collaboration, but he later changed his mind. With sales figures over two million copies sold, that turned out to be a good decision.

Beck inspired many black writers and rappers like Ice T and Ice Cube. His autobiographical novel ‘Pimp’ inspired a documentary in the year 2012. The documentary was named “Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp”.

The documentary showed the journey of the writer from a pimp in Chicago to the writer of seven novels that have sold worldwide. His second novel, Trick Baby, was also turned into a film. The film was directed by Larry Yust and went on to collect a whopping $11,000,000 at the US box office. Beck passed away on April 28, 1992. He was 72 at the time of his death with diabetes and liver failure being revealed as the cause of his death.

His first book ‘Pimp’ was published in the year 1967. The thing that was best about this book was he never tried to glamorize his past or his profession. He wrote this as an autobiographical novel so he was able to change the names of his friends that are mentioned as most of them were still alive at that time. One instance was his pimp friend who was turned into Sweet Jones from Baby Bells. Satin, the notorious drug dealer of that time became Glass Top.

The personal experience of the writer helped him to stay ahead of his contemporary writers. He was aware of the brutality and the dangers of the underworld of that time. This gave him the advantage to portray the first-hand reality of the underworld that he was once a part of. The book gave insight into the world of ‘Black Pimps’ and it was groundbreaking at the time of its release, the first release of its kind. The writer showed how the oppression of the white-dominated society pushed some black males to pimping and drug dealing.

The whole book shows the reality of the streets and the black life of that time period. The interesting thing about this book is Iceberg never tried to justify himself or his action. He simply told the stories of that time and what it was like on the streets of Chicago. He tells you about the pros of that life, like money, girls, and the hard-earned respect, but also gets deep into the dangers that surrounded him. As a reader, you will get the feeling of the life of a pimp in that era and understand how dangerous and terrible life was at that time. It is like a visit to a particular side of history that isn’t often talked about. The story is made special when it is coming from a man who has lived that history.

The second novel “Trick Baby” is something enjoyable and depressing at the same time. In this novel, Iceberg also portrays his life history, but this time more on a personal note and third-person view. The book tells about Johnny O’Brien, who is raised by his black mother and a father who was white. His father left him in childhood and his mother ends up living in a mental asylum.

The real story starts when Johnny meets a guy who is termed as ‘Blue’ because of his pale skin. This black partner who looks like a white guy gives Johnny the confidence to con the larger groups. They soon began a journey full of tricks and dangers. The novel centers on this journey and even gets funny at different parts. Readers will understand the loneliness that is deeply rooted in this journey.

The drama and the dangers they bring on themselves in the quest to survive tells about the darker sides of life at that time. Once again, Iceberg doesn’t justify their doings, he just describes those with an open heart. The book gives a close view of the street laws that ruled that era. You understand how white folks had the upper hand and how they were handled by black people. The street language and real locations are what make this book an experience that is truly in its essence.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Iceberg Slim

One Response to “Iceberg Slim”

  1. Norma Hill: 6 months ago

    I knew am man who patterned his life after Iceberg Slim. He believed he should get everything free. Vonzie Hooper in Lubbock, Tx died 2022, born 1958. He graduated 1995 from Texas Tech University and was the first con to graduate from Texas Tech. He should have a book about his life. J Patterson of the City of Lubbock asked Vonzie if he could write a book about his life. Vonzie declined, afraid he could get into further trouble with the law. I helped him because he needed a friend. He smoked marijuana and would not give up his old ways as an atheist. There should have been a book about his life. He has a daughter with a master’s degree who lives in Washington, Jennifer Gutierrez, given her mother’s last name. He pimped her mother thinking it was alright because that was what she was doing when he met her.


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