The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

4.5 139
by Malcolm X
     
 

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With its first great victory in the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954, the Civil Rights movement gained the powerful momentum it needed to sweep forward into its crucial decade, the 1960s. As voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one sounded more urgently, more passionately than the rest.… See more details below

Overview

With its first great victory in the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954, the Civil Rights movement gained the powerful momentum it needed to sweep forward into its crucial decade, the 1960s. As voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one sounded more urgently, more passionately than the rest. Malcolm X - once called the most dangerous man in America - challenged the world to listen and learn the truth as he experienced it. And his enduring message is as relevant today as when he first delivered it. This is the first hardcover edition of this classic autobiography since it was originally published in 1964. In its searing pages, Malcolm X the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement to veteran writer and journalist Alex Haley. In a unique collaboration, Alex Haley worked with Malcolm X for nearly two years, interviewing, listening to, and understanding the most controversial leader of his time. Raised in Lansing, Michigan, Malcolm Little's road to world fame was as astonishing as it was unpredictable. After drifting from childhood poverty to petty crime, Malcolm found himself in jail. It was there that he came into contact with the teachings of a little-known Black Muslim leader named Elijah Muhammed. The newly renamed Malcolm X devoted himself body and soul to the teachings of Elijah Muhammed and the world of Islam, and became the Nation's foremost spokesman. When his own conscience forced him to break with Elijah Muhammed, Malcolm founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, to reach African Americans across the country with an inspiring message of pride, power, and self-determination. The Autobiography of Malcolm X defines American culture and the African-American struggle for social and economic equality that has now become a battle for survival. His fascinating perspective on the lies and

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Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is the story of one of the remarkable lives of the twentieth century. Malcolm X, as presented in this as-told-to autobiography, is a figure of almost mythic proportions; a man who sunk to the greatest depths of depravity and rose to become a man whose life's mission was to lead his people to freedom and strength. It provides a searing depiction of the deeply rooted issues of race and class in America and remains relevant and inspiring today. Malcolm X's story would inspire Alex Haley to write Roots, a novel that would, in turn, define the saga of a people.

Malcolm Little was born in Nebraska in 1925, the seventh child of Reverend Earl Little, a Baptist minister, and Louise Little, a mulatto born in Grenada to a black mother and a white father. Malcolm X quickly grew to hate the society he'd grown up in. After his father was killed, his mother was unfairly denied insurance coverage and his family fell apart. Young Malcolm went from a foster home to a reformatory, to shining shoes in the speakeasies and dance halls of Boston. After getting work as a Pullman porter, he went to New York and fell in love with Harlem. His stint as a drug dealer and petty crook landed him in jail, where he became a devout student of the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad. That was when he figured out that "he could beat the white man better with his mind than he ever could with a club." Malcolm X's subsequent quest for knowledge and equality for blacks led to his unreserved commitment to the liberation of blacks in American society.

What makes this book extraordinary is the honesty with which Malcolm presents his life: Even as he regrets the mistakes he made as a young man, he brings his zoot-suited, swing-dancing, conk- haired Harlem youth to vivid life; even though he later turns away from the Nation of Islam, the strong faith he at one time in that sect's beliefs, a faith that redeemed him from prison and a life of crime, comes through. What made the man so extraordinary was his courageous insistence on finding the true path to his personal salvation and to the salvation of the people he loved, even when to stay on that path meant danger, alienation, and death.

Robert Bone
A movement might emerge shorn of racism, seperatism, and blind hate which yet preserved the explosive force and liberating energy of the Muslim myth. This is the direction in which Malcolm X was moving for a year or more before his death. The essense of the this shift was psychological. It had nothing to do with black supremacy, but much to do with manhood and self-reliance. -- Books of the Century; New York Times review, September 1966
From the Publisher
“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”The New York Times
 
“A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth.”The Nation
 
“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee
 
“This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.”—I. F. Stone

Library Journal
While critics still debate the role Alex Haley played in the writing of this 1965 book, its importance is irrefutable. With Haley’s assistance, Malcolm X described a world of broken promises, injustice, and hatred from which he wanted his race to escape. Many social reformers and militants have been inspired by this dramatic story. (LJ 6/15/90)

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345288707
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/12/1979

What People are saying about this

I.F. Stone
This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.
Spike Lee
The most important book I'll ever read. It changed the way I felt; it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage that I didn't know I had inside me. I'm one of hundreds of thousands whose life has changed for the better.

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