Autobiography of Malcolm X Paperback – 28 Jun 2007
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Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book (New York Times)
They called him the 'angriest black man in America' ...Celebrated and vilified the world over for his courageous but bitter fight to gain for millions of black men and women the equality and respect denied them by their white neighbours, Malcolm X inspired as many people in the United States as he caused to fear him. His remarkable autobiography, completed just before his murder in 1965, ranges from Omaha and Michigan to Harlem and Mecca, and tells of a young, disenfranchised man whose descent into drug addition, robbery and prison was only reversed by his belief in the rights struggle for black America, and his conversion to the Nation of Islam. Not only is this an enormously important record of the Civil Rights Movement in America, but also the scintillating story of a man who refused to allow anyone to tell him who or what he was.See all Product description
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I am now checking Malcolm on you tube, What a brilliant and calm man talks nothing but sense.
He could have been mayor of New York and President, unfortunately America is so warped and the populace so controlled.
I wish he could have left NY and stepped back for a while.
They say the truth shall set you free, the truth got Malcolm X free from the hypocrisy of the nation of Islam, SPEAKING that truth is what got him killed.
This book is brilliant, a must read.
His journey from a (relatively) happy childhood through turbulent adolescence into a man of history is compelling. We learn of the terrible traumas that shaped his life including the break-up of his family following the racist murder of his father and the subsequent (state induced) breakdown of his mother and the belittling career advice he received at school. We follow him through his teen years as a fast living zoot suited novice gangster with his hair suitably “conked” that leads inevitability to jail where he encounters Elijah Muhammad and converts to Islam.
His journey in Islam is fascinating; first he is obsessed with Elijah Mohammed’s teachings which he sees as capturing the struggle of the black man in white supremacist 1950s America then, as his relationship with Elijah deteriorates, he has a further development in his thinking while on the Hajj to Mecca where he experiences people sharing a common cause (Islam) regardless of the colour of the skin.
It’s a shame the book is not particularly well written. I think Haley let down Malcolm X by not using his skills as an author (evident, of course, in Roots) to provide better focus to what Malcolm X is looking to say. What we get instead, particularly in the polemic sections of the book that dominate the second part of the autobiography, is writing that comes across as streams of consciousness. As such it is, at times, repetitive, lacking in clarity and somewhat stodgy to read. You can imagine Malcolm X, in his interviews with Hayley that form the basis of this book, letting rip. That, of itself, is interesting. But it doesn’t make the best reading!
Overall though, I’d put this in the a list of “must read” books for its insight into an important (and fascinating) person at a pivotal time in 20th century American history.
I knew little or nothing about this great and exceptional being before I read his autobiography. The little I knew about him was that he was very “controversial”. Then again, an Irish colleague of mine once told me a couple of years ago that I looked like Malcom X in my glasses. In order not to appear naive, I just laughed, and then made it a point of duty to research on the man - Malcom X. I tell you what, I’m glad I did and now know the “TRUTH”.
The word “controversial” has always been used to describe individuals who do not conform to certain “standards”. But I always say this, so long what anyone does is within the ambits of the law, who cares? For me he wasn’t controversial, but just honest about his opinion. He voiced out what most people at the time and even now couldn’t and wouldn’t dare to say just to appear as being politically correct. I say this with every sense of responsibility: one of the greatest crime any individual could commit against themselves is self-deceit.
As a Christian first and foremost and a practicing Catholic, I kind of slightly differ on one particular issue he harped on in this book, which has to do with Christianity. Then again, you could argue that his views were influenced by the actions and deeds of those who practised the Christian faith.
Who knows what this guy could have achieved if only those threatened by his popularity and wisdom didn't cut short his life? But, I guess even though they get to spend a million years on planet earth, they will never and can never be as great as Malcom X. For you can only kill a person but not the words of his mouth nor his deeds. Which then leads me to ask the pertinent question, why don’t great men last? You talk about the likes of Robert Nesta Marley, Martin Luther King, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and the list goes on and on.
Just like many other great men who did suffer similar fate as him, his deeds, actions and words continue to loom larger and appear more relevant even to this day! He was indeed an embodiment of wisdom, tenacity, determination and conviction! Malcom X has left an indelible mark in the hearts and conscience of so many people – living and dead, his foes and friends, and people of all racial inclinations.