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Local Book Notes: American Pimp, Born In Chicago

"In the late 1960s and early '70s, if you wanted a book by Iceberg Slim, the best-selling black writer in America, you didn't go to a bookstore. You went to a black-owned barbershop or liquor store or gas station. Maybe you found a copy on a corner table down the block, or being passed around in prison," Dwight Garner writes for the New York Times.

"The first and finest of his books was a memoir, Pimp: The Story of My Life, published in 1967. This was street literature, marketed as pulp. The New York Times didn't merely not review Pimp, Justin Gifford notes in Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim. Given the title, this newspaper wouldn't even print an ad for it.

"Pimp related stories from Iceberg Slim's 25 years on the streets of Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and other cities. It was dark. The author learned to mistreat women with a chilly elan. It was dirty, so filled with raw language and vividly described sex acts that, nearly 50 years later, the book still makes your eyeballs leap out of your skull, as if you were at the bottom of a bungee jump."

See also:
* The Street Poison Amazon link.

* Slim was born in Chicago.

* Washington Post: Why Rappers Owe A Debt To Iceberg Slim.

Buckley, Mailer And Schultz
"The 1960s fascinated former Parkite Kevin M. Schultz to the point that he became a historian, author and history professor at the University of Illinois Chicago," Scott Iwasaki writes for Utah's Park Record, where Schultz was once a reporter.

"(That decade) has always interested me because it's become this mythologized time in our history," Schultz told The Park Record. "We look at Selma the film or the TV show Mad Men and the excitement surrounding these things and see how the 60s are portrayed as this transformative time in American history. It was through this decade that we went from this World War II culture to today's America."

"Schultz's interest in the turbulent times led him to write his new book Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship that Shaped the Sixties."

"The book, published by W.W. Norton & Co., was a No. 1 new release on and reviewed by The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and Minneapolis Star Tribune."

From the publisher:

William F. Buckley, Jr., and Norman Mailer were the two towering intellectual figures of the 1960s, and they lived remarkably parallel lives. Both became best-selling authors in their twenties (with God and Man at Yale and The Naked and the Dead); both started hugely influential papers (National Review and the Village Voice); both ran for mayor of New York City; both were noted for their exceptional wit and venom; and both became the figurehead of their respective social movements (Buckley on the right, Mailer on the left). Indeed, Buckley and Mailer argued vociferously and publicly about every major issue of their time: civil rights, feminism, the counterculture, Vietnam, the Cold War. But behind the scenes, the two were close friends and trusted confidantes. In Buckley and Mailer, historian Kevin M. Schultz delves into their personal archives to tell the rich story of their friendship, their arguments, and the tumultuous decade they did so much to shape.

Here is the entertaining and deeply American story of what Mailer himself called a "difficult friendship": from their debate before the Floyd Patterson-Sonny Liston heavyweight fight in 1962 to their failed mayoral campaigns, to their confrontation at Truman Capote's Black-and-White Ball, to their starring roles in the central events of the '60s, including the giant antiwar rally in Berkeley, the March on the Pentagon, and the national political conventions in Miami and Chicago. Through it all, Schultz charts their friendship, whether sailing together off the coast of Connecticut, celebrating rave reviews and grousing about lousy ones, and defending each other's decisions privately even as they attack each other's positions publicly.

Brimming with Buckley and Mailer's own thoughts from their personal diaries and letters, Buckley and Mailer also features cameos by other leading figures of the time, including James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Barry Goldwater, Robert F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gloria Steinem, and Gore Vidal. Schultz delivers a fresh chronicle of the '60s and its long aftermath as well as an enormously engaging work of narrative history that explores these extraordinary figures' contrasting visions of what America was and what it could be.

From the New Yorker: "Both were disgusted by the tepid consensus of American liberalism; they feared not that the center couldn't hold but that it would."

Batman, Superman And Nobleman
"When Marc Tyler Nobleman set out a decade ago to publish illustrated books about the creators of Batman and Superman, he quickly became engaged in a dogged effort to unearth fresh details about men most fans had never heard of," Martin B. Cassidy writes for the New Canaan News.

"To Nobleman, it is wrong that the names of Batman co-creator, Finger, and Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, only have the proper weight with a small cognoscenti of comic book historians and fans . . .

"In his research for Boys of Steel, Nobleman said his passion as a fan made him press for incredible levels of historic detail when researching Siegel and Shuster's formative years in Chicago. In Chicago, Nobleman talked the current owner to let him enter Siegel's boyhood bedroom to take photographs."

How To Rip Off A Drug Dealer
"Gary Engel hanged himself in a jail cell after his arrest three years ago in one of the most chilling murder plots in recent Chicago history," the Tribune reports.

"But even in death, the story of the former Willow Springs police officer, reputed Outfit-connected burglar and alleged kidnapper has continued on a bizarre path.

"The tale took another stunning turn Wednesday when Engel's lawsuit against an FBI agent he accused of framing him in a 1984 Missouri kidnapping was abruptly dropped in the midst of trial."

This is a confusing story, but this caught my eye:

"When agents searched Engel's home, they found handcuffs, blank search warrants, an electronic bugging device similar to one used on a kidnap victim's phone and a book titled How to Rip Off a Drug Dealer."

Here it is.

Empire Maker?
"Sophia Eggleston wants a piece of Fox's Empire," Fox News Detroit reports.

"She's suing the creators of the show, claiming she is the real-life Cookie Lyon and that they stole her life story for the hit show based on a hip hop mogul and his family . . .

"How did the creators get the idea? Sophia claims it is all in her book The Hidden Hand - a memoir she penned while in prison, serving time for manslaughter."

Not this Hidden Hand, unfortunately, but one I can't find.


Comments welcome.


Posted on August 7, 2015

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