Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America

Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America


By (author) Bruce Perry

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  • Publisher: Station Hill Press
  • Format: Paperback | 560 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 41mm | 771g
  • Publication date: 1 January 1995
  • Publication City/Country: Barrytown
  • ISBN 10: 0882681214
  • ISBN 13: 9780882681214
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Illustrations note: b&w
  • Sales rank: 746,293

Product description

This fascinating psychological portrait, strikingly different from the one given in the Autobiography, is of a man who was abused by both his parents, who never shook off the conflicts of his troubled youth, and whose internalized messages of racial ambivalence continued to plague him throughout his brilliant career. As no other book has done, Malcolm traces the entire life of this heroic figure, from his birth in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, his youthful struggles with deprivation and drug addiction, his life-threatening prison experience and conversion to Islam, through his emergence as a Muslim leader and spokesman for a restless America, and finally to his death by assassination. Exhaustively researched, this first comprehensive biography of Malcolm X is based on the oral and written accounts of over 400 people who knew him, as well as government files and Malcolm's letters. ..".paints a rich, full, and fair portrait of the man...what it gives us is not a diminished Malcolm, for his heroism, his brilliance...charm...wit...necessity have never been as sympathetically or absorbingly rendered."-The Los Angeles Times

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Editorial reviews

Perry (ed., The Last Speeches of Malcolm X - not reviewed) uses hundreds of interviews, government records, and Malcolm X's own speeches and letters to present a lively, critical biography of the black nationalist hero. Unlike the politically correct model-parents in The Autobiography of Malcolm X (actually written by Alex Haley), Perry says Malcolm X's irresponsible father and dictatorial yet emotionally feeble mother raised him in a "loveless" family. Malcolm X's views on race began to form as his brothers ridiculed him as "a freak of nature" for his light skin and hair. Perry praises his subject's self-discipline, oratorical skills, and appeal but underlines his deep insecurity, misogyny, and self-destructive tendencies. From his childhood scrapes to the day of his assassination, Malcolm X, Perry repeatedly asserts, defended others "with a determination that had been completely absent when he had been called to defend himself." During his career as the national spokesman for the Nation of Islam, and his subsequent organizing work after his split with Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X's success, Perry says, was due in part to self-hatred, which he drew on to "liberate his ardent followers from the kind of conflict about skin color that had afflicted him all his life." A complex portrait that successfully illuminates the inner conflicts that drove Malcolm X to greatness and destruction. (Kirkus Reviews)