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Alternate cover for ISBN 9780345350688Through a life of passion and struggle Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century In this riveting account he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister Here the man who called himself the angriest Black man in America relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind An established classic of modern America The Autobiography of Malcolm X was hailed by the New York Times as Extraordinary A brilliant painful important book Still extraordinary still important this electrifying story has transformed Malcom X's life into his legacy The strength of his words the power of his ideas continue to resonate than a generation after they first appeared


10 thoughts on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X

  1. says:

    “I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda I’m for truth no matter who tells it I’m for justice no matter who it is for or against I’m a human being first and foremost and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole” Malcolm XIn High School my history syllabus covered just a few pages on African American civil rights heroes The majority of those pages were on Rosa Parks and Dr Martin Luther King Malcolm X was barely mentioned After reading this book I was perplexed I wonder why Malcolm X hasn't been given the same respect as Dr King; he contributed so much to the civil rights movement as well yet my knowledge on this man was very minimalHow did Malcolm Little become Malcolm X aka El Hajj Malik El Shabazz? This is what this book is all about His transformation was remarkable especially as he spent time in foster homes and was a hustler in Detroit He lived in an America where smart black kids were discouraged from being lawyers etc and thus dropped out of school at young ages It made me think for the umpteenth time just how can society malign and vilify black people especially black men when society itself is responsible for restricting them in the first place?Among the many things I admired about Malcolm X was his thirst for knowledge He is a great advertisement for autodidactism and how effective and transformative self education can be “I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life As I see it today the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive” It was hard for me to read this book and not compare Malcolm X’s philosophy to Dr King’s I always thought I would adhere closely to Dr King’s peaceful nonviolence philosophy but after reading this book I do agree with Malcolm X’s ideology as well Not that I am advocating violence but radicalness and action is sometimes needed as are anger and indignation As Malcolm X said ““So early in life I learned that if you want something you had better make some noise” I feel there is so much to learn from both men so I won’t say I prefer one doctrine over another At the same time I wonder how can people not become militant and revolutionary after having experienced so much cruelty and discrimination?Another thing I found interesting in this autobiography was Malcolm X’s religious transformation; from having been raised Christian to entering the Nation of Islam NOI he finally found his spiritual home in “mainstream” Islam His depiction of his trip to Mecca in particular was very enlightening and a turning point in his life His adoration of Elijah Muhammad the founder of the NOI was uite sad especially as Muhammad seems to have been a bit of a weirdo Muhammad said something along the lines of too short women marrying tall men and vice versa is ridiculous Also he said that a man should ideally marry a woman half his age plus 7 years Malcolm is unapologetic about his views in this book and that's what I love best about this autobiography His writing is very candid and so informative This is an important book for all to read The prevalence of eurocentrism in the world is astounding and I don’t think we really realize just how established it is Malcolm X dissected the race problem so well I felt inspired


  2. says:

    This book counts for a lot Cornel West says that one of the deepest fears for black America is that Malcolm X was fundamentally right that the political system here is incapable of being changed through traditional means in order to serve the black community what they are due What are they due? asks the conservative A share in the incredible wealth of the country that they have labored to build for hundreds of years often against their own will answers the REALIST self actualization in whatever form that may take answers Malcolm Malcolm X scares the hell out of people even today because of his refusal to accept the current democratic system as a way for African Americans to address their genuine bitterness towards a country that has screwed them over time and again He also refutes racist claims of white intellectual superiority absorbing the whole canon of European philosophy while in prison and responding to it with fierce criticism And he was a busboy in some of the greatest New York clubs that ever existed I dunno I'm another middle class white boy in the US who has absorbed from a young age dramatic pictures of black culture mostly negative that don't so much reflect the culture so much as reflect the fears imposed on it by the elite Malcolm X along with Molefi Asante Cornel West Ishmael Reed Zora Neal Hurston James Baldwin Toni Morrison all help to correct that skewed viewpoint


  3. says:

    The voice of Malcolm X was powerful unbridled and simply heroic He is one of the most uotable men of the twentieth century “In fact once he is motivated no one can change completely than the man who has been at the bottom I call myself the best example of that”“It is only after slavery and prison that the sweetest appreciation of freedom can come ”“I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being neither white black brown or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there's no uestion of integration or intermarriage It's just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being”One of the strongest realisations Malcolm X had was learning exactly who he was As a political figure his rhetoric was extraordinary But I will get to this much later in this lengthy review for now though looking at his childhood experience helps to understand what shaped himAs a young black man in America he was a man without a sense of true identity His African roots though still in his blood were far from evident in his people The culture he existed in is comparable to a murky mirror Very much in the vein of Franz Fannon’s Black Skins White Masks Malcolm realised that the black folk acted like puppets; the way they thought and the way they behaved was nothing short of extreme social conditioning They were indoctrinated with this idea this idea that the white man was better; thus they tried to become white by adopting white culture rather than finding their own true sense of self And this is exactly what he addressed in his later arguments after his lessons under Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of IslamHowever some of his earlier experiences show the powers at play directly The young Malcolm experienced it all When at school studying history the history of the “negro” was condensed down into a single paragraph in a Western textbook Let me say that again one paragraph That’s it an entire history of a people summarised by a few sentences Simply put the history of the black man at least according to the white man here didn’t exist until he arrived in Africa with his slave boats He had no history before enslavement and this is what these children were taught at school Chinua Achebe come eat your heart out Ignorance like this is why he wrote Things Fall Apart Malcolm was later told by another teacher that he could not become a lawyer because of his skin colour It’s these kinds of rejections that planted the seeds of anger in his heart First though before he would begin to walk his path he would make a series of mistakes I could hear the sorrow in his voice as I read some of the words here When he was a very young man he broke a girl’s heart an experience that set her on a downward spiral You could say it ruined her life He bought into this idea that white is better and left her for all the prestige a white partner could bring him All in all the young Malcolm as he puts it was “deaf blind and dumb” as he walked away from a woman who clearly loved him He would make even mistakes as he got older He became a hustler and a drug pusher then later a house breaker He was surrounded by a world of violence Few make it to old age in such a life so he had only two possible exists death or prison But who is to blame? I call these mistakes but the reality of the situation is that they were merely pitfalls When Malcolm entered prison it was only because the situation created by the white man lead him to the cell And at this moment in his life arguable the lowest when he sat in a prison cell bored to tears and full of rage; he realised what true power was and where he could get it books “The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive” He learnt to read and did it so often he gained his trademark glasses After hearing the words of Elijah Muhammad filtered through his brother’s mouth Malcolm came to understand the evils of western society He had become what the white man wanted him to be so he changed rapidly He transformed himself drastically He learnt his full history that of the African American and then what he could of the African He embraced Muslim faith slowly at first but when he did he became incensed with the clarity it gave his mind Christianity for him became nothing than a mode of control the white man used on the blacks It forced them to their knees and made them worship a white god He wanted no part of it When he got out of prison he uickly became one of the most important men in The Nation of Islam He converted hundreds and gave many speeches to the press He was second only to their leader He worked diligently for twelve years and then was ungracefully thrown out Where did he go wrong?He didn’t He never did He would have died for the nation He was forced to leave because the leader was jealous and afraid of him even after he continued to serve him after he found out about his hypocrisy Simply put Malcolm put all his faith into a false bastion twelve years of faith and he still had the strength to carry on afterwards He did not let it destroy him He truly was a great man But what of all his hate? Malcolm hated the white man And from this power he drew his early success His hate was justified but it was very generalised The white man committed terrible crimes in history but it was also the general man on the street that would stick his nose up in the air and act superior on a day to day basis that would get Malcolm angry It was out there It kept happening but this doesn’t mean that was all that was out there There were genuine white people who felt as Malcolm did and perhaps they could have helped each other But that being said I’m not sure he would have been as successful had his hate been tempered at the start As he once said“So early in my life I had learned that if you want something you had better make some noise”He needed the white man to know why he hated him The wasted potential of X Malcolm X did wonders for black pride in America; he did wonders for the civil rights movement despite his hatred but the true tragedy is we will never know how much he could have done When he was assassinated he was at the peak of his intellect; he was at a moment where he realised that hatred wasn’t necessarily the answer After he became a full Muslim in the traditional sense after his pilgrimage to Mecca he realised that Allah should have been his true guide not the false Elijah Mohamed He was ready to face the world this time himself He was ready to throw his true heart out there He’d learnt from his experience as The Nation’s number two Muslim and he was going to put his ideas into practice But he was cut short and the world weeps He is often criticised for his hatred but rarely recognised for what he became in the end We will never know how far he could have gone with his Muslim Mosue Inc group Could he have rivalled The Nation of Islam? Could he have sped up black rights even further? We shall never know and that is why his potential was wasted He always knew he would die by violence and perhaps as he grew older he would have developed even further Malcolm X is a contentious figure even today but he is a man who must be studied to be understood Hearing his words his anger is not enough We need to know where it came from and why it was born This autobiography is honest brutal and above all simply an outstanding piece of writing There’s so much to be gained from reading this


  4. says:

    This is the life story of Malcolm Little later Malcolm X later El Hajj Malik El Shabazz As are most white people in this country I was led to believe that Malcolm X was just an angry militant racist who wanted to kill white people in the same way that angry militant racists in the South want to kill black people Nothing could be further from the truthThis book than any other I've read opened my eyes to see how the innate racism in our country works and affects the people it is most sharply targeted at African Americans It's one thing to understand that it exists amazing that this is still debated and empathize with its victims but uite another to see it through their eyes Malcolm X as he points out grew up in the tolerant North His battle was not with lynch mobs and Jim Crow laws but with the death by a thousand cuts brand of racism that I would argue now constitutes the mainstream dynamic between blacks and whites in this countryBy the time he becomes a Muslim in prison it's easy to see why he was angry which he was and why he fought back The amazing thing though is that while the very book was being written Malcolm X is undergoing a personal transformation that is leading him away from anger and hatred towards white people and towards a realization that it is the culture in America and not inherent evil in white people that creates the racism he's fighting against This transformation costs him 12 years of his life's work his house his family's safety and eventually his lifeThere are aspects of Malcolm X's philosophy that I cannot empathize with however His view of women in particular represents an ironic denial of their humanity You almost want to scream at the pages How can you not see that you're viewing women the same way white people view you? There are also some pretty strange religious ideas held by the Black Muslims in general such as literally believing that white people are the devil and we know it but Malcolm ends up moving away from these by the end of his life in favor of orthodox Islam as practiced by the majority of the world's MuslimsI now believe after having read this autobiography that had he lived longer Malcolm X would today be as revered as Martin Luther King Jr is Ozzie Davis Malcolm X's eulogist said that he sometimes needed reminding that he was a man something he suspected white people didn't need and that Malcolm X did that for him and for many other black people as well


  5. says:

    “I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda” I had written to these friends “I’m for truth no matter who tells it I’m for justice the matter who it is for or against I’m a human being first and foremost and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole”Undoubtedly one of the most filling books I’ve read all yearIt starts simply with solid familiar flavors something like a brandy old fashioned complete with fruit decorations and a little bowl of candied pecans Malcolm X begins by setting the scene of his parents and his birth on May 19 1925 It is one of the shortest sections noting his father’s work as a traveling Baptist minister and his mother’s work making a home His memories are informed by skin color recalling his West Indian mother’s pale skin from her absent father and her favoritism towards her children who were darker Preaching the words of Marcus Garvey it wasn’t long before his father ran afoul of conservative reactionary whites chasing them from Nebraska to Wisconsin to Michigan He was killed under very suspicious circumstances that allowed insurance agents to deny payment to a woman with eight hungry children Taking welfare checks meant social worker after social worker dropping by the house as the kids would act up out of hunger desperation and being kids until the day Malcolm agreed to live with another family He found his place for a while but recalls the institutionalized racism that had him being elected eighth grade class president at the same time he was told being a lawyer was beyond his reach but perhaps carpentry was a possible career A chance to visit his half sister Ella in Boston set his life on the next pathZoot suitsIf we were to continue with the food metaphor this would be the stuffed egg appetizer the crunch of radishes in dill the chipped beef and sardine roll straight out of the 1950s hints of flavor spice; food that snaps in the mouth not melts into ephemera This was the section that surprised me the most young Malcolm was a hustler He found a cohort Shorty who became his homeboy and schooled him on the ways of the street He got his first conk and first zoot suit Much to Ella’s dismay he left the ‘high class’ sections of town for the pool halls and dance rooms where he learned to lindy hop After leaving a shoe shine job he had a short term working as a soda jerk in a drugstore where he met Laura one of his favorite dancing partners One night at a dance with her he met Sophia a white girl who was a bit older than he and from the rich area of Beacon Hill Only sixteen Ella took steps to get him out of the influence of his circle by getting him a job on a railroad dining car Eventually he pulled his own strings and made his way to New York and to Harlem Cocky a sharp dresser and with an eye to opportunity he soon became ‘Detroit Red’ to distinguish him from the other red haired black men in his circle“Right now in every big city ghetto tens of thousands of yesterday’s and today’s school dropouts are keeping body and soul together some form of hustling in the same way I did”A conkIf the earlier chapters are courses this is the section where we sneak out back to have a cigarette and a belt of moonshine The Malcolm I expected was barely to be seen in these pages He waited tables picked up tips from the local power brokers became an avid movie goer and gambler Because of his love of dance he was in contact and friends with many of the musicians of his time As a waiter he had a side ‘referral’ business suggesting black prostitutes to white men and vice versa Eventually he was caught and moved into selling reefer His scene attempting to get a 4 F draft classification was astounding Graduating to burglaries with a friend he soon went armed with a couple of guns Eventually he brought his brother Reginald into the life when Reginald left the Merchant Marines It was nothing I had expected and lasted only four short years until he was caught pawning loot from a job done with old pals Shorty Sophia and her cousin“Any person who claims to have deep feelings for other human beings should think a long long time before he votes to have other men kept behind bars–caged I am not saying there shouldn’t be prisons but there shouldn’t be bars Behind bars a man never reforms He will never forget He never will get completely over the memory of the bars”Finally to the main course Solid meaty and not altogether unexpected Like a roast that’s a bit scanty on the au jus details from his time in prison were both flavorful and scarce There’s his moniker ‘Satan’ his minor prison hustles and being encouraged to go the library by one of the dominant inmates His brothers Reginald and Philbert introduced him gradually to the Prophet Elijah Muhammad As with everything Malcolm committed wholeheartedly and was soon preaching to the Christians in the prison as well as joining the debate team to hone his skillsMalcolm XThis is a section that is so fascinating and yet still somewhat disappointing Malcolm did so much reading in the prison library tutoring himself on a vast array of topics learning about American history and oppression At the same time he was spreading the word of Fard through the Messenger Elijah Muhammad who included a history of Islam that included one man breaking off to form the white race out of the seeds of the black and brown race as a form of revenge against Allah There’s also some details about numerology and the Masons that was completely incomprehensible I found it hard to reconcile his willingness to embrace what seemed to be a rather wild offshoot of Islam called Nation of Islam with the man who studied Kant ”The devil white man cut these black people off from all knowledge of their own kind and cut them off from any knowledge of their own language religion and pass culture until the black man in America was the earth’s only race of people who had absolutely no knowledge of his true identity”After seven years in prison he moved back to his brother Wilfred’s home in Detroit and immersed himself in a ‘normal’ life of family church and work at Ford Motor Plant Before long he felt called to preach for Brother Elijah’s Temple One in Detroit With his passion and energy he was soon drawing followers to the temple and before long was traveling to other cities to spread the word Clearly this is the part that was most dear to Malcolm’s heart as he detailed his progress spreading the word in Boston Harlem and many other cities in between seeking personal tutoring from the Messenger in Chicago His life became that of a dedicated evangelist until he encountered Sister Betty in one of the temples and married her Even then he continued to travel building the Nation of Islam He spoke at colleges on the radio television programs and even overseas spreading the word about the black man in America Eventually however he felt there was a lot of jealousy of his success particularly as Elijah’s health grew precarious He also learned of Elijah’s affairs with a succession of secretaries and verified the rumors for himself an astounding crime given that Elijah has sentenced Nation members to years of ‘silence’ if they were found guilty of adultery It’s clear that he felt his split with the Nation occurred because he had “ faith in Elijah than he had in himself” and because of jealousy at his successAnd much like a small bittersweet cayenne chocolate truffle for dessert there is a final bittersweet end As Malcolm makes his break and continues to dialogue and with world leaders he ends up embracing a traditional form of Islam that embraced the brotherhood of man Unfortunately word comes that the Nation would really prefer him dead and his interviews make it clear it is weighing on his mind at the same time he is trying to provide for his familyI found the entire book a meal worth hours and hours of digestion There's so much here As all autobiographies I struggle with ratings This is easily a dense fulfilling read that I’d recommend to anyone in America Political moments happening today have their genesis in that period and Malcolm X provides a number of fascinating angles to the discussion Still autobiographies are the stories we tell about ourselves so I can’t help wishing for even context I do think he showed unusual ability to connect early events in his life to perceptions and viewpoints later yet he seemed to remain hamstrung by his views on women and on other races Even I can’t help wishing he had lived longer so that we could have seen how his philosophies continued to evolve It’s the kind of book that sends me down the rabbit holes of history trying to understand about this fascinating man and his thinkingReview with links and great pictures at


  6. says:

    I worked for 8 hours on this video and I am very proud of it I would love for you to see how this review of Malcom's autobiography translated into video form Five Lessons We Can Learn from Malcolm XSimilarly to my review of Audre Lorde's Your Silence Will Not Protect You I will talk about the lessons I took from Malcolm's autobiography instead of talking about what I liked and disliked about it I hold Malcolm in high esteem and getting this personal insight into his life thoughts and struggles is something that I will never forget I absolutely love his autobiography and can recommend it wholeheartedly but let's start with the lessons#1 ReadYep Read kids read It's as simple as that After dropping out of school Malcolm X moved to Boston to live with his sister Ella where he got acuainted with the city’s criminal underground ultimately falling into a life of crime He was arrested on larceny charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison Prison would play a huge role in the creation of “Malcolm X” as it was there that Malcolm found faith Malcolm’s enlightenment was in large part spurred on by his immersion in reading “I could spend the rest of my life reading just satisfying my curiosity–because you can hardly mention anything I’m not curious about I don’t think anybody ever got out of going to prison than I did In fact prison enabled me to study far intensively than I would have if my life had gone differently and I had attended some college I imagine that one of the biggest troubles with colleges is there are too many distractions too much panty raiding fraternities and boola boola and all of that Where else but a prison could I have attacked my ignorance by being able to study intensely sometimes as much as fifteen hours a day?”“The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive” While in prison he spent long hours devouring books using a slither of light that entered his cell during the night to carry on reading into the small hours of the morning He read a range of authors including Englishman HG Wells sociologist WEB Du Bois geneticist Mendel and historian Will Durant Having forgotten much of his elementary education by the time he found himself in prison Malcolm first focused on self education initially by way of reading writing and memorizing the dictionary The long hours Malcolm spent in this process paid hugely as he went on to become a masterful communicator so gifted in speech#2 Admit Your MistakesMalcolm went through a few seismic shifts within the short 39 years of his life Going from a promising student in his early years to a dropout and full time hustler prison forced Malcolm to reexamine his life His path lead him initially to the Nation of Islam ultimately rejecting it and opting to convert to orthodox Islam partly inspired by his experience in Mecca while performing the Hajj On realizing that rabble rousing and hate speeches had no part to play in the teachings of real Islam nor had it any benefit in promoting healthy societies Malcolm publicly and vocally rescinded the radical views that he had for years been promoting “Despite my firm convictions I have always been a man who tried to face facts and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it” He never failed to challenge himself in search for the truth and I applaud that#3 Don't Write Anyone OffIn his lowest of days Malcolm was using drugs just to keep functioning; he helped transport prostitutes to clients and was eventually caught and put in prison for theft He describes himself at this time as being animalistic and cutthroat ready to die for no reason at all Professor Michael Eric Dyson makes the point that had he been murdered at 25 he would have been just another forgotten about criminal “Don't strike the puppet Strike the puppeteer” He eventually built his way out of his foul situation and deserves a lot of respect for it If we cannot help change the environments of the oppressed we should at the very least avoid being dismissive and judgmental of them Malcolm himself in his autobiography lamented how the hustlers that he used to engage in criminality with might have been mathematicians or brain surgeons had the environment not been as rigged against them from their early childhood #4 Refuse To Be Defined By Others Define YourselfMalcolm X was born Malcolm Little However he opted to drop “Little” from his name at the age of 25 reasoning that it was the surname his ancestors acuired during slavery days He replaced it with “X” to represent the unknown#5 Use Your Anger For GoodMalcom wasn't one for inaction “Everything I’ve ever felt strongly about I’ve done something about” And he wasn't afraid of letting out his anger “Yes I'm an extremist The black race here in North America is in extremely bad condition” Yet Malcolm also understands that he is seen by millions as a symbol He must demonstrate that anger can be productive empowering and serve as a way to connect to others When he talks about horrific events in his life such as the death of his father the institutionalization of his mother and the betrayal he experienced by the Nation of Islam he knows that he is A justified in his anger but also B that he must use his anger to fuel his hunger for action and creating change “I learned early that crying out in protest could accomplish things My older brothers and sister had started to school when sometimes they would come in and ask for a buttered biscuit or something and my mother impatiently would tell them no But I would cry out and make a fuss until I got what I wanted I remember well how my mother asked me why I couldn't be a nice boy like Wilfred; but I would think to myself that Wilfred for being so nice and uiet often stayed hungry So early in life I had learned that if you want something you had better make some noise” Vilified by his critics as an anti white demagogue Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African Americans bringing them pride hope and fearlessness and remains an inspirational and important figure in the fight for eual rightsReading Malcolm's autobiography shook me I felt so connected to him and his fight I laughed I cried I smiled I screamed Malcolm was many things—controversial angry loud hungry ambitious confident—but above all he was real and he was humble “And if I can die having brought any light having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America—then all of the credit is due to Allah Only the mistakes have been mine” Thank you for everything Malcolm Rest in Power


  7. says:

    A masterpiece The Autobiography of Malcolm X may be the most important autobiography ever written I don't have the proper vocabulary to do this book its proper justiceA must read African American Historical Fiction BookclubThe Book Bum BookclubPopsugar Reading Challenge A book involving a heist Ultimate Summer Reading Challenge Read a book that features a father


  8. says:

    I’m going to be fairly critical of this Malcolm X in this review – although that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable because I really think you should read this book and reflect on his life And I think you should read this because this book is a great read I mean it’s a fast paced story told extremely well by someone I think is being often painfully honest about his own life Now obviously the fact this is well told would have been helped along by it being co written by Alex Haley But while that could hardly have hurt it is also clear that Malcolm X was no Donald Trump in the writing of this book – this is a book I am certain that is much an autobiography than many books that go by that name on the lives of other significant figures This book is told with candour sometimes painfully so and with the kind of dispassion that I guess only someone who has experienced a number of epiphanies and significant reversals in how they understood their life can muster Oh I’ve just learned in double checking I had the spelling right that ‘candour’ is from the Latin for ‘whiteness’ – and since Malcolm spends uite a bit of time in this book discussing etymology it really is impossible for me to not mention that now that I know The reason candour has its current sense meaning being open and honest is much the same reason why candid also from the same Latin root means truthful and straightforward – because ‘white’ is associated in our society with purity and with being ‘unmarked’ This digression on the origins of a word helps to confirm many of the things that Malcolm X had to say That every aspect of the white man’s society is constructed to valorise whiteness and to degrade blackness That every aspect of white society is designed to make black people feel uncomfortable in their own skins and to loath themselves The discussion of this self loathing and particularly how this eats away at the very soul of those constructed as not fitting the social ideal whiteness is powerfully told in this book So much so that it seems hard to imagine someone could read this book and not be moved by the horror our society imposes upon people due to the arbitrary uantity of melanin in the skin of some The utter absurdity of such a distinction seems only matched by the absolute horror piled upon horrors that have been perpetrated against black people by white people throughout history That Malcolm X should call us ‘white devils’ could hardly surprise anyone – that over fifty years since his death some of us are still surprised that he might have thought of the ‘white race’ in such terms goes a long way to confirm that history is written for and by the victors I think what I found hardest to read in this book wasn’t so much the horrors of white treatment of blacks documented here – I don’t think he actually told me anything I didn’t already know – but rather his own surprise at learning for the first time what had been done to his people over centuries Of how hard it had been to convince fellow black people of the savage barbarism that was slavery I’ve read this before in Du Bois and in bell hooks but I doubt there will ever come a time when reading a black person talking about this will not affect me The terror for me lies in how it becomes clear that black people have been conditioned to love their oppressor to cheer on the white couple in a film even while the black character is sacrificed as a pawn towards the greater drama The whole thing is sickeningI never know how to respond to books by religious figures who tell me how bad they were in their ‘pre conversion’ lives There is a natural tendency for such figures to want to make their early life sound as depraved as possible so as to support the true miracle that God or Elijah Muhammad wrought on their lives So a grain of salt is often recommended when reading the exploits of the early lives of most converts Again I suspect this concern could be overstated in this case There is a ring of truth about Malcolm’s early life that is hard to ignore I’ve a horrible feeling that Malcolm X is pretty much exactly what he says he was – a man in search of the truth and I think he may have proved that rarest of all things a man prepared to change his mind when he found the truth did not match his system of beliefs He does this at least three times in the book – and each time the conseuences to him in these conversion experiences were not only life altering but life threatening It is hard to not feel awe reading this man’s lifeNow I started this review by saying I was going to be critical of Malcolm X – and I’m going to be it’s just taken me some time to get here One of the things Haley says that helped to break down the barriers that stood between him and Malcolm and that were killing the book as he was interviewing Malcolm was getting him to speak about his attitude to women And this attitude was anything but progressive He says ‘Suddenly between sips of coffee and further scribbling and doodling he vented his criticisms and skepticisms of women “You never can fully trust any woman” he said “I've got the only one I ever met whom I would trust seventy five per cent I've told her that”’I found Malcolm X’s attitude to women uite confronting Firstly I would dearly love to believe that someone so keenly aware of the harm done by defining away entire populations upon an arbitrary feature of their physical construction would get that this is always a problem That he would see that defining women as less than fully human would be something he would be damn careful not to do himself purely because he could see the harm precisely this had cause the people he’s seeking to free So while reading his rants on how women need to be kept under a firm hand or need to be ruled over by men as the head and so on – I found it impossible not to wonder how a clearly intelligent man who had been surrounded and supported by any number of insanely capable and strong women could possibly hold such clearly foolish ideas Particularly when those ideas simply condemn half of the world’s population to servitudeI also found much of the history he uoted that supposedly proved the superiority of pre European African societies to be all a bit daft I also found his calls for segregation a dead alley – and I think he come to this conclusion too at the end of his life At one point in this Haley says “Nazi Party Commander George Lincoln Rockwell who frankly stated that he admired the courage of Malcolm X and he felt that the two of them should speak together across the United States” Malcolm rejects this suggestion out of hand but it is clear Haley is making a valid comparison here I want to start by stressing that I feel it is a significantly different thing for a black man to speak of segregation compared to a white man speaking of the same thing – even if the outcome of them getting their way would be the same In a society that sees black men purely in terms of the threat they pose a black man saying black people need to be segregated from white people for their own protection tells us a truth about our society that is usually shrouded when a white man says he needs to be protected from black peopleAll the same I do not feel segregation is the answer for much the same reason as James Connolly said that Ireland wouldn’t be free if all that happened with the establishment of a republic was that people were turned out of their homes by police wearing uniforms with a harp rather than a crown emblazoned upon it Being exploited by a black man rather than a white man is ultimately of little comfort As someone who is not religious at all I found this book incredibly interesting for the passion his religious convictions brought to his ability to focus his energies But I also think his devotion especially to Elijah Muhammad was problematic on too many levels to be ignored I know he comes to this same conclusion shortly before he is murdered and it is possible this might otherwise have resulted in another major shift in his thinking – I was left feeling that whatever good had come out of his religious convictions was ultimately overcome by the negatives I’m giving this book five stars – it is a classic and will continue to be read as such long after I’m dead and I was only just born when Malcolm died But I also want my reservations noted I think it would be very hard to read this book and come away not liking Malcolm X – you might not come away agreeing with him on everything but there is a naked honesty about him that it would be inhuman to not respect and to like But his sexism troubled me than I was expecting – and I get it he was a religious person I really have no excuse for being surprised at his sexism but it did surprise as much as it also sadden me


  9. says:

    I love this book Alhamdulillah 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' was the most important non fiction bookEveryone This book was a must read I think everyone should read this bookTrust me anyone will love this bookI would massively recommend anyone to read 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X'I need to tell people who haven't taught by Islam Elijah Muhammad was not the Messenger of Allah because Allah said there is no Prophet will come after Prophet Muhammad SAW Prophet Muhammad SAW was the last Messenger of Allah Elijah might told them that he was the Messenger of Allah he might have even believed that he was or he might have know that he wasn't we don't know but he told people that he was the Messenger of Allah and they believed him Islam completed transform Malcolm X's life Alhamdulillah I was really enjoying to see his life journey and how he transformed himself It was a very inspiring story It was a very emotional book If Malcolm X hadn't been assassinated then he would make a huge difference for the Muslim people and the black people but it was his destinyI have seen Malcolm X film it was a great film but it did disappointed me because the scene in the prison they didn't followed in the book and they made up a character in the film 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' was a lot better than movieI am not sure if anyone agreed with my opinion about this comment I feel Malcolm X had less recognition compared to other famous people like Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln or JFK people didn't respect Malcolm X eual as Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln or Barack Obama or JFK I think there were two reasons that people didn't respect Malcolm X Firstly it could be because of his religion Islam and secondly it could be because Malcolm X believed that the black people should have fought the white people for theirs freedom'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' was one of the books that I wouldn't forget and this book was one of the books that I would read again in the future Insha'AllahI love this book I did have a favourite chapter My favourite chapter of this book is Mecca AlhamdulillahMalcolm X was a great man and he was a very interesting figure


  10. says:

    “If Malcolm X were not a Negro his autobiography would be little than a journal of abnormal psychology the story of a burglar dope pusher addict and jailbird—with a family history of insanity—who acuires messianic delusions and sets forth to preach an upside down religion of ‘brotherly’ hatred” Saturday Evening Post Sept 12 1965 Sensationalist yes? Reminiscent of certain responses to Twelve Years a Slave winning multiple Academy Awards at this year's Oscars and this is nearly fifty years on Within these pages Malcolm X spoke of a hope that by the year 2000 the white washing of Jesus and other Biblical figures would be ended and the true unresolved uestion of their physical aspects would be reflected by portrayals ranging all across the spectrum In the year 2014 certain groups had conniptions over suggestions that Santa Clause could be black The world goes on and popular thought appropriatesWhat is especially telling about that editorial first sentence up there is the overt interplay between prose and reader perception This is important to consider when imbibing any text but here in context with racism in context with classism in context with the institutional ideologies' demand that all resistance be nonviolent while weighing it down with sign of the times murder rampant lynching then and shotgunning teenagers now for reasons of too loud music in context with the autobiography of Malcolm X ask yourself if a criminal record puts you off reading about a person and then ask yourself whyAsk yourself what constitutes the abnormal psychology the messianic delusions the upside down religion of 'brotherly hatred' the CEO the politician any belief that preaches intolerance for the non believer Ask yourself what half hearted bullshit constitutes If Malcolm X were not a Negro passing off the enormous debt the US has to its history of slavery as an embarrassing pathos a ploy an Oh they kicked the puppy and now it's telling its story of course it'll get attention Ask yourself what your memories of this monumental figure in history are the first time you heard his name whether you wondered at his story his X or condemned him from the start My beginning was a mention of a footnote of violence in a summary of the 20th century It took me than ten years too long to extend my thinking beyond this roadblock “So as a black man and especially as a black American any stand that I formerly took I don’t think that I would have to defend it because it’s still a reaction to the society and it’s a reaction that was produced by the society; and I think that it is the society that produces this that should be attacked not the reaction that develops among the people who are the victims of that negative society” From the Pierre Berton Show taped at Station CFTO TV in Toronto January 19 1965 It is interesting to note how soon after Malcolm's change of heart he was assassinated It is interesting to note how his message as a living embodiment of hope for those who have slipped through the cracks of well to do society has been seen as a mark against him It is key to observe the contentions over the non fictional aspect of this work when the existence of Columbus Day renders the controversy not only absurd but obscene Either do not discriminate in your pointing of fingers at act and advocation of physical violence or don't do it at allWhatever your personal alignments with the beliefs conveyed in this book it is and shall always be a gift to the world While it may be true that I would have to be restrained from punching Malcolm X in the face for his deriding of women especially his any country's moral strength or moral weakness is uickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women my disagreement does not impact my appreciation of his importance What he believed in he said and the writing of this biography during the last few years of his life displays this dramatic evolution all the so because of Haley's keeping Malcolm X to his word of not changing the overarching message of any previous writing It is his willingness to speak and uestion that led him on his pilgrimage to Mecca it is this overhaul of both belief and character that led him from disenfranchised boy to city slick teenager to convict to minister to a crisis of conscience in full throes up to the point he was shot down In his words “I’m man enough to tell you that I can’t put my finger on exactly what my philosophy is now but I’m flexible” Patriarchal in delivery admirable in gistThere is no point to freedom of speech if you don't want to hear disagreeable things Communication is worth as much as the controversy it provokes and it is worth even if the person communicating is willing to change in accordance to what is received by an open mind In that Malcolm X was a rare rare breed decrying the patronizing euality of the North as harshly as the blatant discrimination of the South sometimes regretting his words but never recanting them Just look at his main counterpart Dr Martin Luther King Jr Even his proclaimed message of nonviolence doesn't save him from being condensed to a speech a slogan a If Martin Luther King were alive today that ignores wholesale his indictment of capitalism the Vietnam War and so many other beliefs that don't fit in that image of a saint made comfortable for societal propagation And this is how much the legacy of the peaceful civil rights activist has been twistedBefore starting this book I had a vague outline of race riots and Muslims Today I know Malcolm X to have been a reader a thinker a leader cut down in the midst of shifts from wholesale condemnation to broader platforms of acceptance a man learning to hate the game of societal oppression not the multitude of players Thirty six years and a wide variety of beliefs both religious and otherwise separates his lifetime from mine but we share a desire for true and ubiuitous euality as well as a love for James Baldwin For that I am glad to have finally made his literary acuaintance