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Pimp The Story of My Life

4.4 out of 5 stars 382 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Holloway House; 1st edition (1969)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003105L5U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (382 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,110,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I think this Iceberg Slim's writing debut alongside with his "Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim" are monument classics to the extreme. Iceberg Slim, all BS aside tells the bitter truth about the pimp life during the 40's and 50's in the Black concrete reservation called Harlem. It shows the candid realities of the ghetto life and about the struggles of a man, frustrated with the setbacks and oppressions of a prodominately white society and despairingly turns to pimping and drug pushing as a way out. Now, I must further comment to some of the youngbloods out there that read Iceberg is dead in his grave, but if he were alive today, and read some of the entries here, he would not be flattered but pissed, to put it bluntly. When 'Berg meant for people (particularly young African-American males to read "Pimp", he intended to give you insight on the pimp game in order for you to see just what a hellish life he really lead as a pimp. It was not meant as a rule book, but a discouragement from the game.Oh, sure, there was the easy money, the power over women, and the false sense of respect as you ride down the street in that Cadillac. But what about the other dangers, like having to look over your shoulders for the police, f--king up your mind with that powder (although today we have crack, even worse). And the women, when they get older and more resentful, they'll cross you and set you up one day, so you have to constantly make sure that they stay mostly ignorant of your weaknesses as not just a player, but a man. If Ice were alive, he would tell you that the pimp life ain't so f--king glamourous, but it's hell, that's why he later settled down with his wife and kid and turned straight.Read more ›
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By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If Mark Twain were a Black street pimp, he would have been Iceberg Slim. Pimp is one of the most captivating books I have ever read. Slim effectively uses his eye for detail and dry humor to bring the hard streets of the Chicago's South Side to life. The characters are well constructed, and the author's protrayal of himself is colorful and honest. Slim does not look for the reader to forgive him for his actions, nor does he try to justify his past deeds with rationalizing rhetoric. Instead, he just tells it like it was, using street slang that can be hard to follow at times, documenting his rise and fall, and how the latter brought him around to "square" life. This book is a true masterpiece of American literature.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've got two completely different opinions about _Pimp_ and Robert Beck himself. One is glowing, the other terrible. Maybe that's what makes Beck and his books so interesting. First, the glowing opinion. Beck's style is like nothing I've ever read before. He claims to have a 175 I.Q. I don't doubt it. No one less brilliant could conjure up the metaphors and images he casually slings as if they were off the top of his head. The book is written in a loose, story-telling style, as if it was never revised, typos and all. Beck makes you feel as if you were standing on a street corner listening to a "fast track pimp" weave his life's yarn. Many times, I would read a sentence several times simply to admire the unique vision Beck gave to an action as simple as getting in or out of a car (a "hog") or thinking about his mother. The terminology is another, brilliantly colorful language (complete with glossary in the back!).Although the story dotes on his early years and then cruises through a couple of decades in a matter of pages, Beck's tale was never slow or anything less than gleaming. That is the glowing opinion. Now the terrible one. I'll try not to seem sanctimonious. To me, Robert Beck is (was) an alarmingly vicious hypocrite and psychopathic criminal. The book begins and ends with his tepid claims that he has seen the error of his ways and regrets his former life. These meager claims are ridiculous when you read the pride, nostalgia, and admiration with which Beck recounts his former life. In one passage in particular, his role model and mentor teaches him an unbelievable method to keep his whores in line. Whip them bloody with a wire coathanger. Beck eagerly tests the method.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the autobiography of a pimp. There's nothing apologetic in it. The author regrets the line of work he chose, but you never get the impression that he's overplaying or underplaying any story in this book. It doesn't judge. It doesn't glamorize. It is nothing but honest. You get the impression that he's is telling this to you, or wrote it as it came to him and never went back to edit. Even the typos and misspellings added to the authenticity.

As a look into an unknown world, this book is fascinating. As a piece of writing, it certainly expanded my vocabulary. There's a glossary in the back for all the slang, but I found that I didn't even know a lot of the words that weren't included in the glossary, presumably because their meaning is well-known. And for all the sex and brutality in the book, the writing is well-crafted-you know enough, but it's never graphic for the sake of it.

The story itself is basically the life of this pimp, nicknamed Iceberg Slim. He tells you upfront that he was very lucky he didn't end up dead or in jail, as most people of his profession do. The story follows him from a young naïve kid to a wise old pimp at the top of his game. The book was written in the late 60s, but the story runs mostly from the '30s-'50s. From different cities to different jails, from whore to whore, the entire book oozes seediness and grit. It makes very clear that there is nothing glamorous in the life of a pimp.
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