The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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by Malcolm X
     
 

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Through a life of passion and struggle, Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself "the angriest Black man in America" relates how his conversion to true Islam helped

Overview

Through a life of passion and struggle, Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself "the angriest Black man in America" relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind.
An established classic of modern America, The Autobiography of Malcolm X was hailed by the New York Times as "Extraordinary. A brilliant, painful, important book." Still extraordinary, still important, this electrifying story has transformed Malcom X's life into his legacy. The strength of his words, the power of his ideas continue to resonate more than a generation after they first appeared.

Editorial Reviews

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)

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bn.com
The absorbing personal story of the man who rose from a life of poverty and disadvantage to become the most dynamic leader of the Black Revolution, only to have his life cut short by an assassin's bullets.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345376718
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/1992
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
100,784
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.88(d)

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.

Meet the Author

Alex Haley is the world-renowned author of Roots, which has sold six million hardcover copies and has been translated into thirty languages. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alex Haley died in February 1992.

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 148 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore that had a research project for my english class. I personally chose Malcolm X because I have always wanted to learn about him and how inspiring he is for people of color that want to stand up for themselves from racism. I thought this book was very helpful with the questions that I had to answer and it was very well written. It told me about his whole life and how he began to become the way he ended up. It talks about from him growing up from an innocent young man living in Lansing, Michigan with a widowed mother, to dropping out of school and hustling on the streets of Chicago and Harlem, then to jail realizing his fate with the  Nation of Islam, and finally to a new leader for the African American race.This book helped me open my eyes on how African Americans  feel/felt and how badly they were treated by white people but they still looked up to them. Since I am part black, this book made me have  some thoughts that I have never had before about his beliefs. More than just a couple of times I agreed with him because I still see the  issues he talks about when some white people are still thinking they're superior to people of color. It has made a huge impact on me because it changed the way I think and the way I act. I very much recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning the true feelings and thoughts of Malcolm X.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Show me a book that should be required reading for every student and I will show you a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Born in Omaha, Nebraska (a city not really known for its African American culture) Malcolm Little and his family were forced to leave after a confrontation with the KKK. As a young man barely able to read or write, Malcolm becomes a theif, a hustler and eventually a prisoner. While in prison he becomes mesmerized by the teachings of a man called Elijah Mohammed, head of the Nation of Islam, a religious sect of Islam that caters to the plight of African Americans during the mid 20th Century. After reading his way through what was effectively a Ph.D in prison, Malcolm becomes the number two man in the Nation of Islam and the most rhetorical voice of social change in America- an honor that would cause him to be demonized by Whites and Blacks alike. Published posthumously,(Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 by members of the Nation of Islam who most likely cohorts of the FBI) this book is definitive work on race realtions without it being a text book per se. It also inspired the author, Alex Haley, to write his most famous novel Roots.
Cush More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book of any genre, both fiction and nonfiction. It is the greatest piece of literature of the 20th Century. It is the greatest piece of African American literature of all time. It gives you a different perspective on politics, crime, religion and history. This is not a piece to which one has to agree. As a matter of fact, it is not a piece by which one has to abide by the standards therein. Rather, this is a work of art that compels to reader to indulge in the lost art of thinking. READ THIS BOOK!
Anonymous 12 months ago
I am high school sophomore that chose to read this book for my research project. My teacher recommended this book based on her own personal experience of reading it. It is very detailed and interesting. I knew very little about Malcolm X except what I read in my world history book. I wasn't sure how interested I would be in reading a book that was almost 500 pages but I soon found out that he was a fascinating person and his importance in world history isn't given the significance that it should be given.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school who was required to read a book for my research project. I chose Malcolm X as the person I wanted to to do my research project on. This book was extremely helpful and it was the only  resource I needed. The book gave an insight on Malcolm X's whole entire life from  start to finish. As a reader I got to know who he really was from his own personal opinions,actions,and thoughts. I learned  about  what he  was like as a seventh grade student at school and what he was like as one of the leaders of The Nation of Islam. If I didn't read this I don't  think I could fully understand Malcolm's choices. His life was so entertaining from beginning to end, that I didn't find a dull moment while reading. To me Malcolm provide to be s very powerful  man. All the things he did and the time he sacrificed was to help others, and his family. None of his actions were selfish and were all to protect and support his rights and the rights of others.This book changed my view on racism and the way I look at people. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in Malcolm X or just want a good read. 
gragonfly More than 1 year ago
...malcom x made a reversal that brought tension into the movement ( nation od islam)...his leader ( elijah. muhammed) felt discomfort / fear that malcolm was going to expose his lessons...almost all of the memebers of the NOI hated malcolm -- why such fear / hate, when IN REALITY, malcolm was only expressing his mind ? it's clear that elijah helped malcolm...it's just an clear ( clearer) that his perception changed ( * the student become clever then the teacher - nothing wrong with that. BUT, whenever the teacher(s) feel discomfort ( by an astute student / sharp reasoning / clever questions etc. u know the type)), one knows that something is WRONG ( * the teacher is hidding something ?)...long story short : malcolm saw what many of the NOI failed to see --- extreme afrocentrism / blacksupremacy ( in essence like the ahyan race)...this book serves well for anyone that's interesting in the careen theories of the NOI. why / how malcolm saw its clear flaws / the trickery of incongruous "leaders" using scipture to further beguile distressed minds...a lucid / heavy read.
LennonFan More than 1 year ago
This book is sure to have a tremendous impact on you.

Growing up in NYC in the 70's, I can remember seeing the so-called "Black Muslims" all over downtown Brooklyn and upper Manhattan. Sometimes they would scare me because they were so militant and angry. But after talking to schoolmates who grew up in that religion, I came to realize why they were so angry. Malcolm X was a fixture of New York culture and yet I had never read his book--until now.

His message of self-sufficiency and pride was timely. The black community needed to hear Malcolm X even if they weren't ready for his message. He articulated frustration without compromise. The best part of the book for me was when he went to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage and learned what he called "True Islam." This helped him to widen his perspective and abandon his "reverse racism."

The book is profound and you will be completely absorbed when you read it whether or not you agree with his philosophies. I shuddered at his "White Devil" rhetoric, but I understood where he was coming from. His was a legacy of oppression and self-loathing resulting from generations of racism. It made me sad that he was killed before he was able to integrate his broader version of the Islam faith with his more tolerant views of human rights.

I couldn't sleep after finishing it. It was that profound.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I am a high school sophomore and I chose to read this book for my research project. I chose to write about Malcolm X because the general information I knew about him prior to reading the book seemed very interesting and I wanted to go more in depth. For as long as I can remember, I have always bee interested in racial segregation and what it was like to have been alive during this time period as a "negro". I strongly believe The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley is a reliable source as to what the experience was like. Although, there are many other books on the topic, this book is the best one thus far, because it gives the reader a real life feel as is you've experienced everything written yourself. Along with the book being well written and a reliable source, it is also a page-turner. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in racism from the viewpoint of a "negro" civil rights activist or anyone looking for a good read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I am a high school sophomore and I am so glad that I chose this book and Malcolm X for my research project. I can truly say that I was inspired by the work of Malcolm X. At the beginning of the research project, I did not know if I wanted to learn about him. Now that I know a lot about Malcolm X, I can make the conclusion that he is the most influential person of the Civil Rights movement. I found it very interesting how a man can go from not believing in a higher power and completely turning his life around. His imprisonment changed his life and made him the influential man of the Civil Rights movement and my inspiration.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I am a high school sophomore that read this book for an English project. I am very glad I chose this book because it gave me a lot of information that I needed to know for my project. I really got to understand Malcolm and I know for sure I will always remember his story because it is so interesting, entertaining and educational. Another reason for why I enjoyed this book is because I am a religious person and I enjoyed learning about Malcolm's religion of Sunni Islam it was very educational as I said before. I pretty much enjoyed most of the book except for two things, I would have liked that Malcolm discuss more detail about his relationships with the women in his life and if he would have cut down on the details about Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, the organization he was apart of, the details were too excessive. Overall I really enjoyed this book
Anonymous 11 months ago
I am a high school sophomore and I chose to read this book for my research project. I chose to write about Malcolm X because the general information I knew about him prior to reading the book seemed very interesting and I wanted to go more in depth. For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in racial segregation and what it was like to have been alive during this time period as a “negro”. I strongly believe The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley is a reliable source as to what the experience was like. Although, there are many other books on the topic, this book is the best one thus far, because it gives the reader a real life feel as if you’ve experienced everything written yourself. Along with the book being well written and a reliable source, it is a page-turner. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in racism from the viewpoint of a “negro” civil rights activist or anyone looking for a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it !!!
CleondraOrtega More than 1 year ago
Stop claiming you know Malcolm X unless you've read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most important book I've ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sophomore in high school. I really liked The Autobiography of Malcom X. I think that it tells a great and very well detailed story of his life. There were many parts of the book that I found very interesting. Some parts that I especially liked was when Malcolm lived in New York, when he was getting hired for new jobs, and when he was selling and doing drugs. I think I was more interested in those parts because there was more action. I understood more of what was happening during those times. Another thing I found interesting was the time he spent with Elijah Muhammad. Another thing I liked about the book was that I knew exactly how Malcolm felt during some moments, just based on the words I was reading. There were also many things that I didn’t like about the book. First, it is a very long book and it took me longer than I thought to finish the entire thing. Second, there were many parts of the book where it got too much into detail. There was a substantial amount of information, which, I felt, was unnecessary for me to read. While reading those parts, I found that I was extremely bored and interested. Third, there were a lot of words in slang that I did not understand. Therefore, the book was sometimes confusing. Overall, even though the book was very long, went too much into detail, had a lot of information, and even though it was sometimes confusing and hard to understand, I still liked the book. It taught me many things about segregation, discrimination, respect, and manners. I would probably recommend this book to someone who enjoys reading long books. I think that they will find it just as interesting as I did, and I think that they could probably learn more than I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose to read this book in high school (roughly 10 years ago), and it remains one of my favorites. I strongly believe that this should be required reading for all youths, as Malcolm X is an inspiring figure in, not only black history, but American history. His story deserves to be heard and respected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I chose to read this book for my research project. Going into this research project I knew noting about Malcolm X, and by the time I was done with the book it gave me all of the information I needed for my project. The book begins with an incident before Malcolm was born involving his family and the KKK and the book ends after he was assassinated. It discusses his troubles growing up in Lansing, Michigan, getting sentenced to 10 years in a state prison, to lastly becoming a nationwide leader for all African Americans. I never knew exact details of what the Blacks had to go through, but this book gives very descriptive thigns thst they went through. It made me realize how much society has changed. Though this book gives plenty of details, I wish it would be a little shorter. But I somehow found a way to enjoy this book because it was so interesting in every way. Malcolm's biography helped me answer most of my research questions without having to look them up on the internet. I highly recommend this book if you need information about Malcolm X or if you just want an interesting and life changing read
JRich88 More than 1 year ago
I have always adimired Malcolm's ability to have people support his cause. I really did not know the story about what shaped his life. The history, and events of his life, and how they are indirectly tied to history are remarkable. As for a man of principal, he had a good message after seeing thru Elijah Mohammmad. I think his growth as a person, and life experiance would have made him a better leader, had his life not been cut short. I recommend this book strongly to anyone that believes in something to stand for. And Malcolm is prove about the power of an individual who believes his cause, there isn't anything that can be accomplished.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FelixH1229 More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of the best books I've ever read . At first i was just doing it because it was a project but over time the book really just kept pulling and grabbing my attention. You can really feel the trials and tribulations that Malcolm X had set against him , but he stepped up to the plate and handled things like a man. After reading this book i really see the world with a different set of eyes. Everyone after the age of 10 should read this book.
DWeaver1 More than 1 year ago
The book was phenomenal. Malcolm X and Alex Haley did a phenominal job and you could tell Malcolm X wanted the world to know who he really was and not just the violence advocator he presumed to be by the media. This novel will challenge you in many ways and you will be left looking at the world very differently. I would recommend this book to every American.