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The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley Paperback – October 12, 1987
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Malcolm X's searing memoir belongs on the small shelf of great autobiographies. The reasons are many: the blistering honesty with which he recounts his transformation from a bitter, self-destructive petty criminal into an articulate political activist, the continued relevance of his militant analysis of white racism, and his emphasis on self-respect and self-help for African Americans. And there's the vividness with which he depicts black popular culture--try as he might to criticize those lindy hops at Boston's Roseland dance hall from the perspective of his Muslim faith, he can't help but make them sound pretty wonderful. These are but a few examples. The Autobiography of Malcolm X limns an archetypal journey from ignorance and despair to knowledge and spiritual awakening. When Malcolm tells coauthor Alex Haley, "People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book," he voices the central belief underpinning every attempt to set down a personal story as an example for others. Although many believe his ethic was directly opposed to Martin Luther King Jr.'s during the civil rights struggle of the '60s, the two were not so different. Malcolm may have displayed a most un-Christian distaste for loving his enemies, but he understood with King that love of God and love of self are the necessary first steps on the road to freedom. --Wendy Smith
“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father
“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”—The New York Times
“A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth.”—The Nation
“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee
“This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.”—I. F. Stone
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting the book I couldn’t stop reading, for five consecutive days, the first two chapters tell the story of his family and his childhood,heartbreaking events that are full of suffering, pain and humiliation this human race have suffered!
Chapter 3 becomes more detailed with a very few boring pages, chapter four becomes more interesting with his life at 16 in the ghetto, becoming a dancer and later a Harlemite. Chapter five have pages with his daily routines, way of living, gambling, pimping, gangster life, etc.” black victims of the white man`s American social system”, indeed at those times a black man’s life was a day at a time survival and the USA was a place where the criminal, the law and the politician inseparable!.
A vivid image is delivered in the later chapters of the decayed way of life of the white man elite in New York in the 1940s. We later see his introduction to Islam, a wrong version of it, a very wrong one, more of a mythical movement than a religion
We see how his deep interest in Islam and the desire to start writing about it drove him to read and educate himself, this changed his life from a life of crime to a life of 15 hours of self-learning a day.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this remarkable man! He is to be respected for his honesty and courage in relating all these events and the way he upheld to his convictions. I will not say more about the contents of this, I loved it and I have compassion with the cause of African Americans, nothing that can be done is enough to compensate the hundreds of years of injustice that they have been subjected to!
I am so glad that Malcolm finally learned to embrace his heritage. I find that his philosophy was ahead of time even though he was most often misunderstood. I found him to be a honest and simple man with few needs. He was not materialistic and died poor with no wealth left for his family. I do not understand how a man could accomplish so many things without much sleep or rest. ? His dedication to the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad is purely dedication even foresaking his family. Just to think of his horrible death and how he was treated afterwards is disrespectful . Even after death and all the hate to just get the man buried was totally disgraceful.
Toward the end, it was so sad. This book is full of life lessons that I hope like Malcolm we will all embrace.
Malcolm's story is passionate, raw and fascinating, from his violent and unstable upbringing through his years as a Harlem hustler through prison to his final dramatice end. He keeps the beat. Sometimes he brags, other times he is sensitive but through it all he tells the story of himself and the hypocrisy he faced as a black man in America. It is amazing to read of the culture of race relations in America in the 1930s and '40s. I had always assumed that racial relations (sexually speaking) were nearly non-existent among black and whites at this time, but I was wrong. According to Malcolm, blacks and whites in NYC were mixing it up for decades. This is the essense of what can be learned from this autobiography: Things are not what they seemed; blacks and whites were joined together in mysterious ways; people bent the rules to satisfy their curiosity while keeping a "white than thou" image for their neighbors. Malcolm witnessed it all and wrote it down so we - every American - could learn from it.
MLK notwithstanding, this book is a must-read for all Americans to understand the human struggle, a struggle that transcends and defines race. I dare you not to be changed by this book