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Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention [Kindle Edition]

Manning Marable
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.


Editorial Reviews

Review

 “Malcolm X is etched in the American imagination—and the American psyche—in the particular and unyielding terms of radical and militant… Marable brings a lifetime of study to this biography, which is the crowning achievement of a magnificent career.”


 “Manning Marable is the exemplary black scholar of radical democracy and black freedom in our time. His long-awaited magisterial book on Malcolm X is the definitive treatment of the greatest black radical voice and figure of the mid-twentieth century. Glory Hallelujah!”


 “Manning Marable’s Malcolm X is his magnum opus, a work of extraordinary rigor and intellectual beauty … This majestic and eloquent tour de force will stand for some time as the definitive work on as enigmatic and electrifying a leader as has ever sprung from American soil.” 


 “It will be difficult for anyone to better this book... It is a work of art, a feast that combines genres skillfully: biography, true-crime, political commentary. It gives us Malcolm X in full gallop, a man who died for his belief in freedom.” 


 “In his revealing and prodigiously researched new biography. . . Mr. Marable artfully strips away the layers and layers of myth that have been lacquered onto his subject’s life — first by Malcolm himself in that famous memoir, and later by both supporters and opponents after his assassination.”


 “Unlike Bruce Perry’s 1991 biography, Malcolm, which entertained the most outlandish stories in an attempt to present a comprehensive portrait, Marable’s biography judiciously sifts fact from myth.” 


 “Magisterial…Marable’s biography is an exceedingly brave as well as a major intellectual accomplishment.” 


 “Marable has crafted an extraordinary portrait of a man and his time…A masterpiece.”


 “This book is a must read.”


 “Thankfully, we have Manning Marable's new biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention — which is, simply put, a stunning achievement — to help us better understand Malcolm’s complex life.” 


 “The book also has much to recommend it for its history of orthodox Islam, the perspective it offers on the black political movements of the 1950s and 1960s that changed America, and its insights into the development and inner workings of the Nation of Islam.”


 “Manning Marable’s scholarship was as provocative and profound as it was prodigious.” 


 “[Marable] devoted his magnificent career—more than most scholars do—to living what he wrote and what he thought. His commitment not only to equality of opportunity but also to the exposure of falsehood and hypocrisy was a hallmark of his pathbreaking work.” 


 “Marable accomplishes the difficult task of showing the bad boy of the civil rights era as an actual human being . . . Each page almost secretes the formidable research into hard facts. Marable lets the chips fall where they may because he is interested in the humanity of Malcolm X, as all true scholars should be.” 


 “This is history at its finest—written with passion and attention and drive. It is a fitting testament to the lives and the legacies of both subject and author.”


 “Marable’s definitive biography is now the standard by which scholars can evaluate, not just what Malcolm X said, but what generations of others have said about him.”


  “This book is not the only representation of Manning's brilliance… it is a culmination of a lifetime of scholarship and activism, a larger project devoted to telling the stories of a people engaged in an epic, painful and beautiful struggle for freedom.”


 “This superbly perceptive and resolutely honest book will long endure as a definitive treatment of Malcolm’s life, if not of the actors complicit in his death.”


 “The book is cause for celebration . . . The book is full of revelations, big and small, and amounts to a full-on reconsideration of Malcolm’s life and death.” 


  “As Malcolm lived on through his best-selling autobiography, so will Marable, through his unmatched body of writing, his educational contributions, his illuminations on Malcolm X's legacy and his devoted students.” 


 “Manning was an unflinching and breathtakingly prolific scholar whose commitments to racial, economic, gender, and international justice were unparalleled . . . That we will have his long-anticipated, great and final work even as he leaves us is so classically, tragically appropriate.” 


 “While Marable himself is irreplaceable, he has provided a foundation for future generations and will continue to shape our understanding of social change and justice.” 


 “A prolific scholar.” 

Review

[A] groundbreaking piece of work. ...The result is not just a biography, but also a history of Muslims in America and a sweeping account of one man's transformation... It will be difficult for anyone to better this book. ... a work of art, a feast that combines genres skillfully: biography, true-crime, political commentary. It gives us Malcolm X in full gallop. -- Wil Haygood Washington Post [L]ucid, hugely researched and surely definitive...an extraordinary story. Sunday Times [A]n incredibly detailed account of Malcolm's life (and an investigation of his murder) and it is, of course, completely riveting...it is inevitably much more than a biography of one man... Marable is intensely and intimately sympathetic. -- Geoff Dyer New Yorker In the pantheon of black American protest figures only Martin Luther King occupies a more exalted position, but it is Malcolm X whose legend has the greater street credibility and aura of cool...Now, almost a half century [after his assassination], Malcolm has finally received the biography that his unique role in black culture demands...A meticulous, comprehensive, and fair-minded portrait. -- Andrew Anthony Observer Professor Manning Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is encyclopaedic in its approach. The endnotes and bibliography indicate the staggering breadth and depth of scholarship underpinning this volume...Undoubtedly it will stand as a last lecture on the subject by one of America's most distinguished historians. -- Wilbert Rideau Financial Times [A] wealth of detail, some of it new, some of it old stories confirmed...At the end of it all, Malcolm X remains Malcolm X, for good or ill, one of the most fascinating historical figures of the 20th Century...a labour of love...a courageous endeavour. -- Hugh Muir Guardian Malcolm's short life (he was slain at 39) makes a fascinating story...Mr Marable has scoured contemporary press clippings in America, Europe and Africa...and benefitted...from the recent release to the public of hundreds of Malcolm's letters, photographs and texts of speeches. The Economist Marable gives us all the raw material for a harshly critical appraisal... Marable's is very far from the first biography of Malcolm, but it is undoubtedly the most penetrating and thoroughly researched. It clearly surpasses the best previous effort, Bruce Perry's 1991 study -- Stephen Howe The Independent By the end of the 1960s, Malcolm's disciples had elevated him to what Manning Marable, in this weighty biography, calls 'secular sainthood'; in death, his image was quickly refashioned to 'embody the very ideal of blackness for an entire generation'... But Marable... resists the temptation of hagiography and fills in the gaps left by previous books. Where the autobiography, carefully organised by the NOI-sceptic Haley, presents an idealised vision of a man's growth as a thinker, Marable gives us Malcolm in all his self-contradiction and self-doubt... By refusing to pin him down, he offers glimpses of the human being behind the legend. -- Yo Zushi New Statesman Striking... Marable is intensely sympathetic but always conscious of the contradictions of his subject...the fulfilment of a life's work -- Geoff Dyer, Books Of The Year Prospect From petty criminal to drug user to prisoner to minister to separatist to humanist to martyr. Marable, who worked for more than a decade on the book and died earlier this year, offers a more complete and unvarnished portrait of Malcolm X than the one found in his autobiography. The story remains inspiring -- 10 Best Books Of 2011 New York Times Selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 New York Times

Product Details

  • File Size: 1337 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046ECJ9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,120 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(199)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
127 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why you should read this book April 12, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whether you're just getting to know this giant and enigmatic figure of the civil rights "movement" - or in Malcolm's case revolution - or you were on the street in the day, Manning Marable's biography is worth your valuable time. In addition to being a wide and deep examination of how Malcolm Little became Malcolm X and how Malcom X became a universal advocate for the oppressed, especially of African heritage, Marable fills in gaps with his singular access to records and sources, as well as his sustained effort over a decade in producing this biography. But, perhaps most importantly, the voice that Malcolm X raised in defense of those being oppressed carries a message especially important in our time. We should listen.

Marable examines Malcolm's life from many angles, in many contexts, which are necessary given that he manifested himself in appearances that ranged from hustler and angry voice from the ghetto to social activist and pragmatist willing to work within the American "system." And this broad appeal largely defines Malcolm X's appeal according to Marable: "Malcolm's journey of reinvention was in many ways centered on his lifelong quest to discern the meaning and substance of faith. As a prisoner, he embraced an antiwhite quasi-Islamic sect that nevertheless validated his fragmented sense of humanity and ethnic identity. But as he traveled across the world...Malcolm came to adopt true Islam's universalism, and its belief that all could find Allah's grace regardless of race." (p.12)

To black audiences, "what made him truly original was that he presented himself as the embodiment of the two central figures of African-American folk culture, simultaneously the hustler/trickster and the preacher/minister...
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An informative but flawed account January 7, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to preface this review with a little information about my own background. At one time my parents were members of the Nation of Islam. Their active involvement with the Nation had ceased by the time I was four or so, which was also around the time that my parents separated, so I have very little memory of any direct experience with the Nation's activities. Nevertheless, the Nation's teachings affected my life in subtle and profound ways. Although I didn't understand it at the time, my father's involvement with the Nation was one of several factors that contributed to the deep tension between him and my grandmother, who is a staunch Baptist. Oftentimes, perhaps most of the time, that tension was palpable, as my grandmother lived with me and my father for a good portion of my childhood, and was deeply involved in my upbringing. His experience with the Nation also fueled his deep inner turmoil to a great extent, although I didn't understand that at the time either. It wasn't until I got older and began to study the history of the Nation of Islam that my father's paranoid ramblings about FBI bugs in our house and recordings of my mother's voice being played on television, which completely mystified me as child, were put into context. That history also helped me to make sense of the divergence between my mother's and my own views on race when I was an adolescent. Studying that history helped me to make sense of my upbringing and my place in a world in which I often felt, and at times still do feel, alienated and displaced. So naturally, as I grew up, I eagerly devoured whatever I was able to understand about the Nation. And most of what I learned was and is centered in the figure of Malcolm X. When Spike Lee's "X" was first released, I think I saw it at least three times in one week. Read more ›
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104 of 122 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Manning Marable's book, Malcolm X, A Life of Reinvention, is an informative if unexciting read that adds important details to the story of the still-fascinating African-American revolutionary. Having read the famous Autobiography several times, I was still unaware, for example, at how much Malcolm travelled overseas, as well as his impact on foreign audiences. (Unfortunately, Mr. Marable's book plods exasperatingly in those chapters, as he includes far too much trivia. If you must know when Malcolm had a sandwich in Sussex or met 3 students at a Liberian airport, Marable has those details.) Information about Malcolm's rocky relationship with his powerful sister Ella, his troubled marriage and further details about the split with the Nation of Islam illuminate both the private and public figure. And the information about previous back to Africa groups is fascinating, as are the sections on Marcus Garvey and the formative days of the Nation of Islam. Marable is also insightful--if scathing, writing about Malcolm's co-author, Alex Haley. Marable's portrayal of Haley is a brutal picture of the free lancer as a sycophantic hustler.
Where Marable's runs into trouble is in his constant editorializing (he takes every opportunity to show exactly how much he disapproves of his subject's politics) and with some rather questionable lapses in logic and fact-gathering. I, for one, would have liked more information about the formation of the Nation of Islam's religious enforcement squads, the funding for Malcolm's foreign trips after the split with the NOI and what Marable was able to glean from police and government surveillance files. Marable makes some strong charges against those he feels were involved in the assassination and the charges are not always backed up with factual detail.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars give it a read
interesting read...definitely worth it especially because of the controversy that surrounds it.
Published 19 days ago by Francis S.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Love
I know Malcolm represents black manhood to millions but I'm an Irish girl from Boston and, to me, Malcolm has always represented dignity and personal growth.
Published 27 days ago by Mary Foley
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read by all interested in the other side of the story in...
Massively powerful and well written book.
Published 28 days ago by David Morehouse, Ph.D.
1.0 out of 5 stars And the lies continue
I love revisionist history its so American to redefine a man you hated while he was alive so that you can make him what you wanted him to be when hes dead and can no longer speak... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge at a Discount Price
Masterpiece at a great price
Published 1 month ago by Denise Ratliff
4.0 out of 5 stars very thorough review of the journey that made Malcom X ...
very thorough review of the journey that made Malcom X one of the leading civil rights activists
of the past century
Published 1 month ago by john delaney
5.0 out of 5 stars ***** 5 Star Seller *****
***** Thanks ever so much ...
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever written on Malcom X
Extremely well written and informative. One of the best books ever written on Malcom X!
Published 1 month ago by Wayne T. Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent. Well researched and written
Published 1 month ago by J. Gonzalez MD
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage
A book written with contempt as well as falsehoods, misconceptions and blatant lies. A character destruction after the fact written under the guise as a biography without true... Read more
Published 2 months ago by todd saffron
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