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Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America Paperback – January 2, 1992

2.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Exhaustively researched, this compelling biography corrects Malcolm X's Autobiography at innumerable points as it peels away the black revolutionary's tough-as-steel persona to reveal the vulnerable man underneath. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- After 18 years of meticulous research and gathering oral and written observations of over 400 people who knew Malcolm X, Perry has produced a sensitive biography that chronicles the entire life of this heroic figure from his birth in Nebraska, his adolescent troubles with deprivation and drug addiction, his terror-filled prison ordeal, his conversion to Islam, through his rise as a Muslim leader, and, finally, his assassination. This compelling biography corrects and fills in the details of Malcom's autobiography (American Reprints) as told to Alex Haley. This book will change how readers see Malcolm and, because of that, it will be controversial. --Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.; Reprint edition (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882681214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882681214
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,585,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 22, 2004
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.Read more ›
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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.
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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!
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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.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Plenary of conjecture, little in the way of informed and grounded facts. One has to ask what Bruce Perry's intentions were in writing this biography which at times seems to focus on the salacious and sensational at the expense of verifiable facts. The author seems to have a preconceived narrative in mind and wishes to obdurately foist this on the reader. The result is an unconvincing attempt and one which appears to me at least to be more tabloid than truth.
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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.
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