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Book Review: Malcolm X A life of reinvention

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jun 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Book review: Malcom X, A life of reinvention

Is Malcolm X a hate preacher or a martyr? Review of “Malcom X:


 A Life of reinvention” by Manning Marable


Do you know Malcolm X from posters and t shirts of rappers as a sign of rebellion, with him referring to whites as “White Devils” and being the example of one the most extreme figures of the civil rights movement in the sixties. Is this really all to this historic figure?

Manning Marable was a historian specialised in black history who died in 2011 in Manhatten. “A Life of reinvention” marks his final work and is one of the most acclaimed books about Malcolm X.

The book describes the life of Malcolm X from his childhood, through his days as “Detroit Red” working as a hustler in the very same city, to his days in the Nation of Islam as a preacher and right hand to Elijah Muhamad the leader of the group, his struggle with the Nation of Islam, the journeys to Africa and Mekka and his violent death in New York in 1965.

Particularly interesting are the encounters with Muhamad Ali, Fidel Castro, contacts to the KKK and the change of Malcolm X after his journey to Mekka that are covered in this book and not that commonly known. The book is very well researched, although you sense at some stages that it was more written to educate than to entertain.

This book is a good read to understand the differences between the movement of Martin Luther King and people supporting Malcolm X. Some chapters were quiet complex and fact driven, that can be easily skipped due to the clear structure of the book. For me it was my first deep insight into Afro-American history and raised my interest for more.


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