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Doom Fox Paperback – September 21, 1998

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Doom Fox + Trick Baby + Pimp: The Story of My Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st edition (September 21, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135889
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A former pimp, ex-con and all around hustler, the late Iceberg Slim (ne Robert Beck) wrote a series of underground bestsellers presenting a harrowing vision of African American ghetto life, rife with crime and personal betrayal. Despite their often caricatured dialect and hyperbolically rendered sex and violence, many of his novels are redeemed by a core of social truth. This book, however, a ghetto farce written in 1978 and never published, contain very few truths of any kind. It is the story of a decent but simple-minded heavyweight contender, Joe Allen; his operatically dysfunctional family; and his sappy love for the beautiful and rather temptable Reba, his childhood "play sister." Among a large cast of ghetto stereotypes Slim presents Reba's conniving parents, the busted card shark Baptiste and his nymphomaniac wife, Phillipa, in a series of bombastic personal tragedies brought on by their own cartoonish character flaws. Joe hounds his philandering father into destitution and madness; marries Reba, who wantonly cheats on him; and finally lands in prison after murdering her lover. The writing is howlingly bad ("...the derby-hatted knight of his man-prince rears a blue-black awesome shadow..."); only Slim's fans will likely get a kick out of his excesses. The book's dubious introduction ("the life he describes is real") is by gangsta rapper Ice-T, who could easily be a character in an Iceberg Slim novel.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Originally written in 1978 but unpublished until now, this final work by Robert BeckAbetter known as Iceberg Slim (Trick Baby, Holloway House, 1996)Acomes alive both as an ode to a romanticized ghetto underworld and as the last place one might find tragicomedy in its purest form. Boxer Joe "Kong" Allen yearns for Reba, who is engaged to the neglectful doctor-to-be Pretty Melvin. Joe's stepfather, Joe Senior, is reluctantly married to bitter matriarch Zenobia Allen while chasing "chippies" on the side. Reba's gambling father, Baptiste Rambea, lives in scorn of his ex-wife while dreaming of the ultimate score. Within a network of overlapping relationships, the men are cuckolds and the women fast and steadfast, while between the lines a furious postwar Los Angeles boasts lust, mayhem, and intrigue. Essential for enthusiasts and popular fiction collections.AAhmad Wright, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

The writing is sure, the action rapid.
All I can say about this book is that it is just as good as all the rest.
Containing every emotion, Love, Hatred, Sexual lust, Revenge.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Even if you can't directly relate to the characters in Doom Fox, you can relate to the themes of searching for a better life, for happiness and for love. All of the characters in this book have a story. Slim's graphic details put you right on the roller coaster with them. At first I was a little taken aback by his language because you begin to wonder if it's necessary but as I read on, I realized it is totally necessary! It's one of the things that makes this story so tangible. His descriptiveness also makes it a easy to picture the rooms, the houses, the alleyways and the people and dramas that take place there. I judge a book on many things but one of the most important is whether or not I feel attached to the characters once I finish it; the same way I do when I watch an outstanding film. Doom Fox was definitely one of those books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
DOOM FOX by Iceberg Slim is well worth reading. In my opinion, it was every bit as satisfying a read as PIMP or TRICK BABY or MAMA BLACK WIDOW. This, despite the fact that it was written in 1978 and never before published, most likely making it a found novel, without benefit of polish.The people in DOOM FOX don't talk in anybody else's voice but their own. And i found Slim's ear to be just as finely tuned as in any of his other books. There is nothing fake about this book. And i think it's very possible to write fiction and not be fake, although it's rare. Iceberg Slim has not lost his touch for that, here.The characters speak from their own, often broken, hearts. They are looking for love. They look up alley-ways and in the lair of a junkie con artist and in eyes that are looking somewhere else, maybe while pledging fidelity. What they find, is something else altogether.So, what is the Kirkus reviewer objecting to ? Sex ? Does he/she think the author invented it ? 'Language' ? Same deal.The book is a document of characters reaching out for some kind of happiness before their final breath.Personally, i enjoyed spending time with them, because i could believe them; because they were real.Who could ask more of a book than that ?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aretha on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Is the only title I feel adequately descibes my feelings towards Slim's last book

The book is doomed, for nothing this good can help but get co-opted by the Man somewhere down the line. White Power Freaks (and that's a much bigger category than the Klan) will surely rip it off sometime. It's a glorious book wherein the greatest "surprise fighters" are: two women, and one gay guy-- Reba, Dottie, and Pretty Melvin.

Here I'd say I'd surely go along with Deborah and get Peter Muckley's Iceberg Slim: The Life As Art to read as a companion piece to Fox, just to help see how great this work in particular, and Slim in general, truly are. Though, mostly, for me, Lit. Crit. is foolish hype, I go along with Thumper on this one; "truly deep".

When I first read Doom Fox, I simply couldn't get over the brittle, hard writing, every phrase a left jab. Here were all the great Slim types in one compact, "coruscating" volume: the Pimp (and just watch how he burns); the Black Muckety-Muck; the twisted killer cop; the Religious Shark; and, as always, the "bitter sweet ghetto".

The prison scenes are superlative and the Nazis therein are more threatening today than even in Slim's time; now they rule the White House. Melvin is an especially complex character who grows and transforms right along, becoming almost a Malcolm X by story's end. Rebecca and Dottie form the Black (staying) Power matrix.

Poor Kong is doomed by his great heart, but there is glory flashed in the sheer telling of his tale. Doom Fox is the history of African-American experience in the 20th century... (and beyond?) It is a blues masterpiece which, as time will prove, is doomed, like its best characters, to posthumous glory. It is also the best presented, best printed, best proofed, and best rounded out of all Slim's books. Please, read it, even if you do not buy it, Muckley's work ditto.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deborah on April 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
In many ways, Doom Fox is an update version of Mama Black Widow. Just try to equate the characters there with those here.

The book stays completely within the ghetto and the prison-system here is dealt with as it had not been since Pimp or the Essays of The Naked Soul. That is, it is Robert Beck writing at his very best about what he knows better than any of us. One way of appreciating the real depth and true subtlety of Doom Fox, its overriding concerns and its masterful historical achievement is to read it in conjunction with Peter Muckley's Iceberg Slim: The Life as Art. There, there is even a plot-breakdown neatly compacted into 1 single page. It is good to see Amazon offer both conjointly at discount price. If you were me, you'd snap up the offer.

For me, this is THE VERY BEST of Slim's works. The writing is sure, the action rapid. It shows what Slim could do when not hampered by publishers, that's why it was published so late and posthumously.

The tale of the Allen Family and its generational decline has as a subtext the whole of African American History, together with much of Robert Beck's own history. The burning up, quite literally, of the evil Whispering Slim shows what Iceberg now thought of his old Pimp-self. In the character of Baptiste Rambeau, we find one of the sleaziest villians of all literature.

For all those, like Sapphire, who have accused Slim of misogyny, this is pure rebuttal here, in the characters of Reba and Dorothy, two outstanding resistance ghetto-fighters.

This is the Slim with the revolutionary consciousness first found in Death Wish, but it is a "bitter-sweet" ghetto saga. Unmatched of its kind, Doom Fox is a tour-de-force singing out to the vile ghettos of Today.

Everyone should have a copy. It is, in so many ways, the Apex of the Iceberg.
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