The Autobiography Of Malcolm X by: Malcolm X, Alex Haley | Review

The Autobiography Of Malcolm X
By: Malcolm X, Alex Haley
Genre: Autobiography, Non-Fiction, History, Religion
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: October 12, 1987

Read in February For Social Justice Book Club


Through 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 Malcolm X’s life into his legacy. The strength of his words, the power of his ideas continue to resonate more than a generation after they first appeared.

My Thoughts & a Book Review:

My work lately has made leisure reading nearly impossible, so if I’m not reading scripts, I’m reading books that have pre-scheduled post dates already on my calendar. With that being said, I wanted to make sure I shared my thoughts and notes on books I’ve already read, but do not have reviews.

It might be the effects of what is happening now in our country but I thought about sharing this review first. It is the book the Social Justice book club read in February for Black History Month, but I am a strong believer in not needing a set reason or particular event to have to discuss, approach or learn about the strong and powerful constricting social-economical and racial discrimination trouble millions face every single day here in the US and around the world.

It’s actually one of the reasons I do not take part in the diversity spotlight or diversity bingo phenomenon that seems to have popped up on social media lately. I think discussing diversity and social issues is important and more people should take part in it. However, I do not like the idea of it being integrated into pop-culture and desensitized like some sort of trend.

It is a discussion and topic that should be had every day, all the time and should be taken seriously. For the fact of the matter is that the themes of dystopian/alternate worlds in fiction seemed to have seeped into our reality and sometimes it is kind of difficult to predict what might happen next.

I didn’t know much about Malcolm X before reading this book. Not many relatives or people in my life talked about him, but I’ve always known about him. I guess some people don’t often discuss him because of the radical and “extreme” perspective he had.

I agree that his level of abrasively radical opinions was difficult to wrap my head around and I didn’t much care for his opinion on women either. However, I think what I struggled with the most was how he seemed to always be so sure and confident that his opinion and thoughts were right and that his word was law.

There seemed to be a way in which he thought that was belittling and closed off. Reading about his life following his arrest Malcolm found his way to Islam via his brother and with it came his thrust for knowledge and answers to questions.

There seemed to be a way in which he thought that was belittling and closed off. Reading about his life following his arrest Malcolm found his way to Islam via his brother and with it came his thrust for knowledge and answers to questions.

Yet, it felt like his thrust for religion and all in devotion and dedication was just a replacement for his severe drug addiction. And the more I read about how committed to it he was, the more this point became harder to shake.

I don’t mean this as a way to disassemble all of the positive affects his work had and the unification he was known to bring to the community, but the almost aggressive nature to which he assumed that every African-American should denounce their religions, mainly Christianity and convert to Islam.I was struck with the notion that I was reading the uprising of a cult leader who sought out attention and who wanted to make a lot of noise.

This thought of course only made me think about the social “conformity” that I’ve been raised in.There are a lot of us, African Americans and other POCs who don’t ask enough questions or question the questions about life and society. I think that there are a lot of people who do seek out equal boundaries and truth and justice, but it makes me wonder if we aren’t doing enough. Or pushing enough against those boundaries. Maybe the “radical” nature of which Malcolm is best known to an extent is not so radical.

However, I did not like the way that he seemed to disrespect and think so little of women or that he assumes that all white people were malicious or evil. I think and know that those traits can be with anyone. I also know that there is a very real and very present racial prejudice against African-Americans and POCs in our country and all over the world that has yet to be disemboweled or abolished.I think that he’s teaching are often taken out of context, like most things, but I found a lot of truth and solid foundations for his ideas.

Malcolm grew up in and lived in a different time, but the times have not changed or irreparably progressed enough that people shouldn’t or don’t need to revisit some of his words. So, there were a lot of personal ups and downs to reading this autobiography, but I’m glad that I did.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by and reading my review. I don’t know if I’ll be able to post all reviews from the books read in the Social Justice Book Club , but I will try to post them whenever I have the chance . If haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out the book club for yourselves.

Until the next post,