School Library JournalGr 8 Up-This biography provides the familiar aspects of Malcolm X's life as well as an excellent analysis of his political ideology. Brown combines a mature vocabulary with precise writing to create an intelligently honed and not-too-worshipful portrait, presenting the history of the civil rights movement as the context for Malcolm's development. The volume is unlike most other biographies for this age group, however, since, in addition to reporting life events, it compares Malcolm's and the Nation of Islam's ideas to other contemporaneous ideologies. In a reassessment of this leader's accomplishments, the author maintains that his subject was a good manipulator of the media, but was in some ways ``...intellectually immature'' and ``...less a thinker than an activist, less a writer than a rapper.'' To his credit, though, Malcolm did allow ideas to change him, as his post-pilgrimage break with the Nation of Islam shows. Brown emphasizes this change and takes a critical view of the current pop-culture interest in the man. This is a well-designed book with fine-quality black-and-white photographs. Pair it with Walter Dean Myers's Malcolm X (Scholastic, 1993).-Kellie Flynn, St. Teresa High School, Decatur, IL
Hazel RochmanThe handsome open design will draw browsers to this large-size biography of a black leader who continues to speak with urgency to young people today. There are beautifully reproduced photographs on thick paper with lots of white space and compelling quotes in the wide margins. Like Walter Dean Myers in "Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary" (1993), Brown combines political biography with history of the Nation of Islam and the 1960s civil rights struggle and with analysis of Malcolm X as hero in the 1990s. Brown is candid about Malcolm's weaknesses, while showing the strength of a leader continually transforming himself. The writing style is direct, especially in the biography chapters, but the essay on contemporary politics is turgid, with some condescending talk about "youth" today. Direct quotes are documented in notes at the back, and readers will want to go from here not only to the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1965), but also to the growing literature about him.
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