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The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Malcolm X , Alex Haley , Paul Gilroy
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Mar 2001 Penguin Modern Classics

Malcolm X's The Autobiography of Malcolm X was written in collaboration with Alex Haley, author of Roots, and includes an introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic, in Penguin Modern Classics.

From hustling, drug addiction and armed violence in America's black ghettos Malcolm X turned, in a dramatic prison conversion, to the puritanical fervour of the Black Muslims. As their spokesman he became identified in the white press as a terrifying teacher of race hatred; but to his direct audience, the oppressed American blacks, he brought hope and self-respect. This autobiography (written with Alex Haley) reveals his quick-witted integrity, usually obscured by batteries of frenzied headlines, and the fierce idealism which led him to reject both liberal hypocrisies and black racialism.

Vilified by his critics as an anti-white demagogue, Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African-Americans, bringing them pride, hope and fearlessness, and remains an inspirational and controversial figure.

Malcolm X (1925-65), born Malcolm Little in Omaha, and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, lost both his parents at a young age. Leaving school early, he soon became part of Harlem's underworld, and in 1946 he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. It was in prison that Malcolm X converted to Islam. Paroled in 1952, he became an outspoken defender of Muslim doctrines, formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1963, and had received considerable publicity by the time of his assassination in 1965.

If you enjoyed The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you might like Nelson Mandela's No Easy Walk to Freedom, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'This extraordinary autobiography is a brilliant, painful, important book'

The New York Times

Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (1 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141185430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141185439
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book (New York Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later, a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home in Omaha, Nebraska, one night. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read this book shortly after coming out of that teenage phase of 'jungle mentality' where only the fiitest and most ruthless survive. This book should be an integral part of schooling in this millenium as it tells of the rise, heavy fall and rise again of a black child born into prejudiced society, taking a common way out and then recieving the wake up call. It tells of how anyone, if they apply themselves, can achieve their goals and a thorough insight into the interactions between different races and religions which can breed war and peace. It tells of a man that became a strong believer and rigidly exhalted those principles. Malcolm X gave ME a belief that I can study and achieve and STILL keep a strong sense of racial pride. I first read this 11 years ago and I'm now reading it again for the eighth time...
Do not pass go, do not collect 200, just go directly to the store and buy this book now...
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest autobiography I have ever read 9 Feb 2005
In this uncompromising and surging autobiography, Malcolm X, one of the most fascinating and charismatic African Americans of the twentieth century, tells the story of his tumultuous life. He recounts how, from his horrific childhood through to his numerous robberies that eventually landed him in jail, he found solace in Islam which led him to become the prominent speaker of one of the most controversial groups of its time - The Black Muslims.
I read this along with Martin Luther King's autobiography (which everybody should do if they want to get a true understanding of the two conflicting black philosophies of the time), and while I was more in agreement with King's method and message, I found Malcolm X a much more interesting and charismatic personality, and his autobiography more enjoyable. What makes him even more interesting is the way his views altered toward the end of his life and leaned more toward King's.
The book is an easy read and the pages seem to fly by. The book finishes just a few months before his assassination, so unlike most autobiographies, Malcolm X's continues right up until the end of his life.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
...The Autobiography of Malcolm X captured my attention and interest right away from the first page and held tight throughout the remainder. The depiction of the Klansmen at the beginning of chapter one started the book off on a serious note that laid the foundation for Malcolm's life. Being a teenager, the first handful of chapters was understandably the most entertaining to read. From them, I drew out the learning processes, the experiences, and the obstacles that Malcolm inevitably had to overcome in his transition from childhood to early adulthood. I then stocked them deep within to facilitate my own maturity process. From these chapters, I acquired a greater understanding of the Afro-American way of life and a better-informed picture of American society from a teenager's perspective. These chapters engendered excitement, suspense, and a great deal of reality and truth in Malcolm's encounters with guns, drugs, and prostitution. They were presented in a very straightforward way, and were not marred with many unbelievable ridiculous exaggerations. Every word was to be believed, every word could have been believed, and everything should have been believed.
The book's primary motif of race relations cast its shadow upon every paragraph, and gradually became more involved in Malcolm's life as he proceeded into adulthood. In the middle portion of the book, Malcolm took a dramatic fall as he dropped to the lowest state of society in prison. Faced with a fork in the road, Malcolm strived for the best as he painfully resumed his education. The middle chapters were the most inspiring to read for me as a student. I certainly could relate to the processes of learning how to read and write, but never the way Malcolm went about accomplishing them.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about a great man 22 Oct 2003
By Lecky
I began reading this book with what I thought was an open mind. By the time I had finished it I relised that this book had truely opened my mind. During the first chapter of the book Malcolm X comments that it is amazing that a good book can change your life. When I read this line I understood the vocabulary but did'nt really understand this concept until I had finished the book, as I believe that this book has changed my views and beliefs so much, and opened my mind to such a degree, that it will be directly responsible for influencing many decisions that I will make throughout the rest of my life.
This book will appeal to many different people and I would recommend that anyone, who can access a copy, should read it. The book begins with an account by the author of the last days of Malcolm X's existance, during which he put this book together with author. The book then tells the story of Malcolm's youth, growing up in a shockingly and disgracefully racist America. The young man, whom excelled academically and aimed for a prosperous career and future, was racially abused and grossly discouraged by white members of the community. The book continues, following Malcolm into the ghettos of Detroit and then Harlem, in which a life of crime appeared to be Malcolms destiny. Next comes the jail term, during which Malcolm made the discovery of religion and a developed a thirst for knowledge, both of which whould contribute to a massive change in direction for the young Afro-American. Upon his release from prison, the book follows Malcolms facinating journey as he dedicates his life to spreading the message he has recieved.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Malcolm X Autobiography available
Brilliantly book and highly recommended for anyone who wants to know more about Malcolm X.
Published 5 days ago by Khizar Latif
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The most gripping and compelling autobiography I've read. A must read for all.
Published 10 days ago by Haseb Akhtar
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all
Amazing. We've all heard about Malcolm X but I don't think we can actually understand what he represented and believed without reading this book first. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Fiona L
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life. A must for all ...
This book changed my life. A must for all black people. Also a must, if you belive in the human family and you want to expand your mind!!!
Published 1 month ago by Shazbaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Must have. Enough said.
Published 1 month ago by A J
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read.
Published 1 month ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book. You can since the transformation Malcolm X ...
Amazing book. You can since the transformation Malcolm X went through while you are reading the chapters. His tone in first and last chapters is different. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Haitham Alhindi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
definitely a good read
Published 2 months ago by S A.
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly life and perception altering book! PLEASE READ AND SHARE!
Being the first serious non-fiction book I ever read, at the age of 17, this literally changed the way I thought. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ellijah Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars Its quite heavy...
its especially good for AS American History students as it depicts the conditions and upbringing of a popular figure of the movement. Read more
Published 3 months ago by .
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