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Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography Hardcover – November 14, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Helfer and DuBurke tell the story of Malcolm X's short life—his meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the two leaders describing the opposite ideological ends of the fight for civil rights; and his eventual assassination by other members of the Nation of Islam (NOI)—in narration and detailed b&white drawings, sharp as photographs in a newspaper. The portrait is frank and at times unflattering, pointing out the inconsistencies in Malcolm X's own autobiography. From his slow slide into the criminal—moving from hustler to dealer to the head of a ring of thieves for which he was finally sent to prison—to his jailhouse conversion to Islam, Helfer and DuBurke don't shy from any part of their subject's life. Unfortunately, as the story gets into the complicated dynamics within the NOI and Malcolm X's eventual break from the group, the narrative becomes tangled. The same drawings that make Malcolm X's youth so vivid can't portray the political in-fighting with the same clarity, giving instead a glance at the last few years of his life. Nevertheless, Helfer and DuBurke have created an evocative and studied look at not only Malcolm X but the racial conflict that defined and shaped him. (Nov.)
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From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–This brief novelization opens with a dramatic image of Malcolm posing with a rifle, highlighting the conflict that defined his short life. The story begins shortly before his death, and the sense of tension established by his looming assassination is maintained throughout the book. Those already familiar with Malcolm X's autobiography will find a compelling retelling of his life, and those new to the subject will be introduced to a whirlwind tour of mid-20th-century history through the eyes of an influential figure in the Civil Rights Movement. The defining moments of Malcolm's life are presented here in a condensed format–his upbringing in the Midwest, his rowdy teenage years as a hustler in Boston and Harlem, and his time in prison, leading ultimately to his public life as a member of the Nation of Islam and the Black Muslim movement in the 1960s. The black-and-white illustrations give shape to the figures depicted through the use of shadows and high-contrast silhouettes. Many of the drawings have the quality of photographs that have been repeatedly photocopied until fine details disappear, lending a documentary feel to the imagery.–Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; 1st edition (November 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809095041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809095049
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Jean E. Pouliot on October 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I grew up in the days when "great black leader" meant Dr. Martin King, Jr. I read X's autobiography, but found the man hard to like or understand. This small but fact-packed graphic novel is a great help to understand the forces that shaped Malcolm, and the changes he underwent.

The novel lays the context for the story with swift, deft strokes that show the experience of blacks in America's history, from slavery to Jim Crow. The story shifts to tell of X's parents, and covers his childhood, young adulthood as a petty criminal, eventual jailing and conversion to Islam, his hajj and his assassination.

There's a lot to learn about X in this book, much of which was (with attribution) taken from his autobiography. Without saying it in so many words, the books reports inconsistencies in stories he told about himself and the recollections of others. His mother claims not to recall the story of facing down racists while pregnant with X.. The book is also honest about his criminality (as was X himself) and his association with the Boston and Harlem drug and club scenes, including experiences with conking his hair and his dalliances with white women. X's jailing gives the book an opportunity to explain X's attraction to the Nation of Islam, and explains NOI's distinction (due to its myth of white devilry) from other branches of Islam. Malcolm comes across as an intense man of great persuasiveness and integrity, whose incredulity at the sins of NOI's leader, Elijah Mohammed, are laid as the cause of his murder.

This is a quite honest book that lays out the facts and lets the reader decide what to make of them. Was X an effective leader? What is his legacy? What if he had chosen not to challenge the NOI's cult of its leader?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my struggling readers and found that is was comprehensive but easily attainable, which is crucial for readers with decoding issues and or learning disabilities. The students loved it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easy and informative read on life of Malcom X. Book included illustrations along with each narrative. Good overview if don't have time to read full autobiography.
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By elmac on November 6, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of historys dynamic figures. A must read for all those who believe in the power of one.
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