The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Book - 1965
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Publisher: New York : Grove Press, [1965]
Characteristics: xvi, 455 p. illus., ports. 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Haley, Alex

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Geoffflet
Nov 11, 2019

Wow - a great insight into race and also power - for example, how wealth and power 'whitens'!
H and direct - and clear, regardless of where you start from.

l
LucasHill
Sep 08, 2019

I can only approach this as the white reader that I am, with everything that attends that condition. I have no other choice, obviously. Stemming from that is my feeling of responsibility to confront one of X's intermediate theses: that America was damaged from before its founding by slavery, and that black people have been so greviously wounded by this legacy that the only responsible move for them is to uproot from America and move elsewhere where they can stand by their own efforts, free from white influence and malingering. Ironically, this is what many white nationalists want as well, for other reasons.

Forgetting the practicalities of black separatist nationalism, X describes in some detail how facets of American society - its government, religious textures, and its overall moral sense of itself - are irredeemably toxic to black people. There's the hard pill for me (and maybe all of white America) to swallow: that this country was injured from the start by its most tragic error. X explains that many white peoples' daily experiences are so removed from back peoples' - in an effort to keep black people down - that we whites cannot fathom many black peoples' disgust and anger with us. We are left to ask lamely, "Why are they so mad?"

The variety of Islam that X undertakes is strange, unorthodox, self-justified and self-serving (these are not necessarily criticisms). It props up X's separatist nationalism, when, to my mind, black separatism, at least during the 20th century, was understandable. So its satisfying when X goes on his Hajj and discovers a more orthodox Islam, and maybe a measure of peace. He remains angry at the state of many American black people, but he's not completely consumed anymore.

Alex Haley's essay about X and the writing of the autobiography shouldn't be skipped. It provides insights into X's psychology that are unavailable in the main part of the book.

j
johnathanmccary96
Jul 13, 2019

A fascinating insight into one of the most passionate and honest men who fought for the human rights of the African- American Community at the height of the Civil Rights area. A man who can be seen as strange and abrasive, yet his reasons for those attitudes are clearly justified with the experiences he had as a child and young man. Everyone should read this book, as it reminds us how humans can treat one another terribly if we begin to think of ourselves more highly than others. Malcolm displays an attitude of selflessness that makes him a hero of the twentieth century.

r
rpavlacic
May 01, 2018

You'll either love or hate this book - no in-betweens. It is equal parts inspiring and infuriating. This book is not so much about Malcolm X himself as it is a critique of American society. While one may agree with his diagnosis, his solution - a separate black nation state - would not only have been impractical but impossible to achieve as no state would cede a square inch of its territory. The book is disturbing on a couple of counts. Malcolm praises Billy Graham but has nothing but scorn for Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King - in fact the latter is inferenced throughout but not mentioned by name until the very last chapter. The author was also anti-Semitic and proudly so, stating Israel had no right to exist. Whatever you may think about the man, this is one book you'll find hard to forget.

x
xiaojunbpl12
Feb 13, 2018

Best (auto)biography I’ve read.
His short life was uniquely fascinating, no one could produce such dense and rich materials.
A “violent” read, I was well spent more than several occasions...as if I wish to save the drowned or win the debate. But “Icarus” and “Out” gained me equanimity. “Mecca” nearly converted me.
I wonder his approach may work out better (thinking Mao’s China finally gaining dominance). When would there be another hero like him rising up from ghetto to save the black themselves?
I feel his assassination was nation’s bigger loss than JFK’s. The modern landscape could be very different due to his longevity. Besides, a biography inclusive of his maturity as a politician and sage, would be even more glorious, and more controversial as well.

r
ranvapa
Dec 28, 2017

Great intro by MS Handler.
Interesting subject. Malcolm X died before I was born, so my knowledge of him came from romanticized notions. This book straightened that out, which sounds like is how he would prefer to be remembered.
Two take-aways: His self-education in prison is inspiring. Near the end of his life, his willingness to change his staunch views is admirable.

r
RayRayChicago
Jul 12, 2017

I read 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' in 8th grade for a class reading and fell in love with vivid imaging throughout the book. Being from Chicago I can relate to a lot of stuff brother Malcolm has experienced throughout his lifetime. Not only have I read it in 8th grade, I read the book whenever I need inspiration in school. Great read!

d
DerekStl
Sep 30, 2016

Talk about pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, this man accomplished that and much more. This book talks about his rise from common street hustler to becoming an icon in this country.

m
MasterLok
Jun 13, 2016

A captivating tale, and a must-read for those interested in human-rights

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

Malcolm X's story is truly original and inspiring. Not only was Malcolm X a powerful force, but he was a person who went through significant transformation in his life, over and again, and this is what makes him most impressive. Witnessing the confused youth he had been, the minister he was, and the humble servant of the people he ultimately became proves that a person, with the right mentality and encouragement, can change.

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lschede Jun 07, 2013

lschede thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 9

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Levi_1 Jun 30, 2014

"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." Chp 19

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