Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America

Overview

This fascinating psychological portrait, strikingly different from the one given in the Autobiography, is of a man who was abused by both his parents, who never shook off the conflicts of his troubled youth, and whose internalized messages of racial ambivalence continued to plague him throughout his brilliant career. As no other book has done, Malcolm traces the entire life of this heroic figure, from his birth in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, his youthful struggles with deprivation and drug addiction, his ...

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Overview

This fascinating psychological portrait, strikingly different from the one given in the Autobiography, is of a man who was abused by both his parents, who never shook off the conflicts of his troubled youth, and whose internalized messages of racial ambivalence continued to plague him throughout his brilliant career. As no other book has done, Malcolm traces the entire life of this heroic figure, from his birth in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, his youthful struggles with deprivation and drug addiction, his life-threatening prison experience and conversion to Islam, through his emergence as a Muslim leader and spokesman for a restless America, and finally to his death by assassination. Exhaustively researched, this first comprehensive biography of Malcolm X is based on the oral and written accounts of over 400 people who knew him, as well as government files and Malcolm's letters. "...paints a rich, full, and fair portrait of the man...what it gives us is not a diminished Malcolm, for his heroism, his brilliance...charm...wit...necessity have never been as sympathetically or absorbingly rendered."-The Los Angeles Times

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Exhaustively researched, this compelling biography corrects Malcolm X's Autobiography at innumerable points as it peels away the black revolutionary's tough-as-steel persona to reveal the vulnerable man underneath. Photos. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In a psychohistorical analysis resembing William McFeely's recent rendition of Frederick Douglass ( LJ 2/1/91), Perry traces Malcolm X's footsteps from birth in 1925 to death in 1965, using several hundred interviews to fill in detail and correct the autobiography Alex Haley edited ( LJ 1/1/66). Probing what he labels as the deep-seated and hidden causes that made Malcolm who and what he was, Perry produces a portrait of an emotionally abused and abandoned boy who grew to manipulate his fearful helplessness into emotional and political power that mobilized black America's rage at a historical moment when, Perry says, ``white America needed someone to scare it to death before it became too late.'' Scholars, at whom the book seems aimed, may find some of the information useful, though they will have to skirt the occasionally simplistic interpretation. An optional purchase for academic collections.-- Thomas J. Davis, Univ. at Buffalo, N.Y.
School Library Journal
YA-- After 18 years of meticulous research and gathering oral and written observations of over 400 people who knew Malcolm X, Perry has produced a sensitive biography that chronicles the entire life of this heroic figure from his birth in Nebraska, his adolescent troubles with deprivation and drug addiction, his terror-filled prison ordeal, his conversion to Islam, through his rise as a Muslim leader, and, finally, his assassination. This compelling biography corrects and fills in the details of Malcom's autobiography (American Reprints) as told to Alex Haley. This book will change how readers see Malcolm and, because of that, it will be controversial. --Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882681214
  • Publisher: Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 1,315,638
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Perry is the editor of Malcolm X: The Last Speeches. His articles about Malcolm X have appeared in several scholarly journals. After graduate study at Harvard University, he earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught political science in the University of Texas system, the University of Pennsylvania, and other colleges.

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