Book Review: The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley
A few months ago I asked a young reader to name a book which had excited her the most. I was expecting to hear a frequently heard or displayed title. She thought for a few seconds and unexpectedly mentioned The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Bewildered by her response I asked the reason for this. She became quite animated and with a sparkle in her eyes began narrating his life. I abruptly stopped her from saying more so that she will not to ruin my reading experience as I had already made up my mind to read it.
The book indeed had the same affect on me. It is a truly moving and inspirational story of an African American born among the struggling “negros” of the 20s era and attaining unprecedented fame worldwide in the 60s until his assassination in 1965. The assassins are yet to be identified and the mystery continues to unravel by his children and the media. The latest quest is a Netflex series on the subject matter “ Who Killed Malcolm X.”
So what made Malcolm X so famous and so unwanted that he had to be eliminated is left to the interpretation and understanding of the reader. The book provides an authentic account of his life, his struggles as a child, as a teenager within the underworld and criminal scene of Boston and New York City during the 1930s and 40s and rounding up in the prison for nearly a decade.
The years in the prison equipped with a library and access to books bring such a radical transformation within him that he takes on the white America with his activism against racism . HIs activism goes though an evolutionary process with his with his gradual understanding of the orthodox Islam leading to advocating worship of One God. He captures the media and leaders worldwide as an unstoppable force of uniting humanity against differences in skin colour, races, if it can worship a single and same God.
It is very rare for a 500 pages book written some 50+ years ago to keep today’s youngsters or grown ups accustomed to social and electronic media of a rapidly changing world to be immersed in reading it cover to cover including prefaces, acknowledgements and postscript accounts of the author. The book truly offers faith in willpower of a single person irrespective of social standing to be heard rout loud and shake up the world.