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Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America Paperback – 1 Nov 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Station Hill Press; New edition edition (1 Nov. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882681214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882681214
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 369,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Traces the life of the influential Black leader, describes the people who helped shape his philosophy, and looks at the circumstances that led to his murder.

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
Bruce Perry's book, for me, has been the best one to date on Malcolm. I read it a few years ago, so bear with my memory. I do believe I liked this book because he challenged Malcolm's autobiography, and in some ways questioned some of Malcolm's recollections of his past. I believe also, if memory serves me, Mr. Perry receieved alot of heat for doing so. The documentary "Make It Plain" also hints in this area that Malcolm wanted to have some control over how his life would be written about. Bruce Perry tends to speculate that Malcolm was too biased to really interpret his own life correctly. What I like about this book is that the author can back up his assertions with research. I guess that is what got under some people's skin, the one's who can't get away from the belief that whatever Malcolm said was the "truth". I believe it is this book also that first introduced me to the connection between Louis Farrakhan and the death of Malcolm. Again, for me, this is the go-to book on Malcolm X.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Questionable 23 Jun. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is good if only for the insight into Malcolm's childhood. Other than that, it makes too many cynical conclusions based on whatever it is the author was trying to get across-- which by the end, is still unclear. Reading the introduction one would assume that this book was poised to breathe new insight on Malcolm the political figure and man. However, what you end up getting is more of a repetitious editorial piece. The author almost insults the intelligence of the reader by constantly rehashing the possible reasoning for Malcolm's every move. At one point, he suggests that Attallah was favored by Malcolm because of her light skin (like his) the way his dark-skinned father had once favored him. Perry also volunteers the very real and most likely possibility that Malcolm took this particular daughter to different events because she was the oldest of the girls. This is just one example of how he insists on giving the reader something to ponder on Malcolm's sincerity as a Black leader, tangible or not. There are parts of this book that indeed ring true with me for what I have interperted Malcolm to be, but these instances are too few and far between. I was in no way expecting an idealized picture to be painted here, only this book offers no real balance. Beyond this wounded Malcolm he avidly portrays, what else was there? Also for the attention he gave to alleged homosexual activity, arson, etc. he mentioned Betty Shabazz sparsely as if she held no importance in Malcolm's life. I found that fact very telling. After supposedly over 400+ interviews, Perry could only gather enough to give the mother of Malcolm's six children passing mentions. I actually got more of a rounded glimpse of Malcolm the man in the biography of Betty Shabazz by Russell J. Rickford. I advise those who are thinking of reading this book first to check out the autobiography w/ Alex Haley instead, then tackle this one if you wish. Even for all its omissions and probable half truths, you'll come away from that book actually understanding something. After reading Mr. Perry's biography, you get the urge to so say, "So?! What was your point?"
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Too many unsubstatiated statements 4 Jun. 2001
By Andre M. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was not too fond of this book, not because I'm a Malcolm fan, but there are too many conclusions that Perry makes with weak evidence. Such as Malcolm's father (and Malcolm himself) setting their houses on fire, Malcolm's alleged homosexual activity, Malcolm asking the Klan why they allowed Dr. King to live, etc. etc. One could see why Dr. Betty Shabazz (Malcolm's wife)told Perry to get lost!
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Approach With Caution 8 July 2001
By Tom (London) - Published on
Format: Paperback
You have to question what Perry wanted to achieve from this book. He seems to have missed, or overlooked, all of the important issues that Malcolm X stood for.
He takes the word of Malcolm's detractors as the gospel truth and diminishes Malcolm's teachings and beliefs by portraying them as paranoid.
Perry seems obsessed with highlighting flaws in Malcolm's personality and uses this device to side step the vital lessons which Malcolm was trying to teach - lesson's which still need to be learnt today.
By all means read this book, but do so very objectively.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A must read for interested parties 25 Mar. 2008
By D. J. Pohlman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Unlike many of the other reviewers, I thought that Perry truly succeeded in this biography of Malcolm. I think that one must have read Malcolm's autobiography to appreciate this book; that said, I'm very glad to have read another source besides the Malcolm/Haley classic. This work does take a critical look into the life of Malcolm, and Perry does seem determined to cast doubt upon Malcolm X's own statements, but I don't think that this was to malign or to lessen Malcolm's credibility and accomplishments. Perry provides the reader with a well researched and backed viewpoint to allow for greater discussion and interpretation of Malcolm's thoughts. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read Malcolm's autobiography, and who would like to learn more about it.
Bruce Perry's Conniving Hatred of Malcolm X 27 Sept. 2014
By The Careful Observer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Why would someone who hates and despises Malcolm X to the core of his soul, spend such a large amount of time researching and writing such a hefty book about Malcolm? This is a question that baffles the mind. One way for Bruce Perry to attempt to mask his hatred towards Malcolm is to feign genuine interest in Malcolm by writing a biography about him. It seems to me that there is something twisted and not quite right about this, but this is one of the realities that seems to be going on within the production of Perry's book. This book feeds the hunger of Perry's hatred. Anyone who writes a biography should make an attempt to be objective and fair. Perry makes no such attempt. The intensity and comprehensiveness of Perry's hatred for Malcolm hints to this reader that there is some type of deep, dark, sinister, psychological issue at work within Perry when it comes to Malcolm, all aimed at promoting who knows what? What is Perry's issue? I could speculate, beginning with the same reasons that the mainstream media hated Malcolm during his lifetime, but that would only be speculation. It would take a psychological expert, one beyond my capability, to get at the true core of Perry's conniving hatred of Malcolm. Still, there is comfort in calling this conniving hatred for what it is. Nearly every fact that was revealed by Perry's research was spun into the book through Perry's lens, with all of the facts consistently given the most negative interpretation possible. As a complement to this review, I am suggesting that it would be wise to read a copy of Arnold Rampersad's essay titled "The Color Of His Eyes: Bruce Perry's Malcolm and Malcolm's Malcolm." The essay can be found on page 117 in Malcolm X : In Our Own Image, edited by Joe Wood.
On the flip side of the coin, the beauty of Malcolm X's body of work, his legacy, comes from the fact that the power of who he was, the power of his spirit, message and essence, is impenetrable to such shallow attempts as Perry's to defame him. Truth always wins out. Despite Perry's prodigious effort to discredit Malcolm, The Autobiography of Malcolm X will always be the defining narrative of Malcolm's life, a book judged by Time magazine as one of the top non-fiction books of the 20th century. Malcolm was too great of a figure to have someone try and insult his historical status by a recipe of non sequiturs and sophistry. Any objective search for the real Malcolm has a lot to choose from, with a handsome collection of legitimate books, albums, tapes, cd's, youtube videos and documentaries in existence. A true attempt to get at the real Malcolm should begin and end with his Autobiography, the longest and most comprehensive source of Malcolm revealing himself to the world. There is enough legitimate information in circulation about Malcolm to reward a diligent, reasoned, balanced, temperate search. I am giving Perry's book a rating of one star because I do not have the option of assigning negative stars to it. If I had that as an option, we would all have to blow off the dust from our early school understanding of the algebraic line and make our way to the left of zero.

PS--Chapter 4 in "Reality's Pen: Reflections On Family, History & Culture" by Thomas D. Rush is called "Inspiration." That chapter is really a moving dedication to Malcolm X. Anyone interested in Malcolm X will find that chapter worth one's while. In addition, there is much to be gained from the rest of the book. This book can be found right here on Amazon.
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