The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Mass Market)
Jim's July 2016 pick, 1 of 2
Malcolm X has always been one of my heroes; he is even more so since I finished this book.
It always seemed logical that Malcolm X, and other civil rights leaders, are on par with our nation's founding fathers. They all fought for the same thing: freedom from the tyrannies they saw governing their lives. Malcolm X had to overcome the straight-jacket limitations placed on all non-whites by society that defined him as less than human. As a result, in his early life, he lived like an animal as a hustler and drug addict. Like a phoenix, he rose from the ashes of those years to become a religious firebrand, promoting the Nation of Islam, an organization that not only saved him, but in the end, brought about his demise.
Even though the book came out over fifty years ago, the life lessons taught in Autobiography apply to our lives today. Toward the end of the book, once he had learned to overcome his hatred for all whites, he states "that the white man's not inherently evil, but America's racist society influences him to act evilly. The society has produced and nourishes a psychology which brings out the lowest, most base part of human beings." If that is not a summation of where America is today, nothing is. It explains so much in so few words.
I highly recommend this book not only as a study of a life but also of a society that has not learned from its mistakes.— From Jim's staff picks, 2016-2018
ONE OF TIME’S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.
Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X
“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”—The New York Times
“This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.”—I. F. Stone
About the Author
Alex Haley is the world-renowned author of Roots, which has sold six million hardcover copies and has been translated into thirty languages. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alex Haley died in February 1992.
“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
“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