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The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad
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The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Drawn from recently declassified FBI files, and interviews with family members and former apostles, The Messenger renders a daring portrait of one of African-American history's most controversial leaders.

In this explosive biography, investigative journalist Karl Evanzz recounts the multidimensional life of a semiliterate refugee from the Jim Crow South who became the influ...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published January 9th 2001 by Vintage (first published November 23rd 1999)
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Casey Wesley
Jul 23, 2010 Casey Wesley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is about the destruction of The Nation of Islam. The Messenger is an exhaustive examination of Elijah Muhammad's life. Readers will be able to cut through the murky waters of NOI hierarchy to see Muhammad's relationships with his family, with Malcolm X, with Louis Farrakhan, and with other important figures in the movement. Additionally, readers will understand the various controversies and internal power struggles that have plagued and continue to plague the Nation of Islam. From assa...more
Much of what was said about Clegg's book An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad can be said here, for more see my review of his work at the link above.

Karl Evanzz packs an explosive amount of information into this volume. Much more than a mere analysis of Elijah the Movement or Elijah the Man, Evanzz attempts to set the context in which the NOI developed, chronicling Elijah's life, and attempting to draw connections between the movements and men that surrounded him. He covers the...more
All I can say is that this book blew my mind! It was so fascinating getting to know the history of this snake oil salesman and how coincidence, being in the right place at the right time, and a silver tongue influenced the African-American community, our country, and gave us one of the most amazing almost-leaders of our time in Malcolm.
I thought this book was awful, especially after reading Claude Clegg's masterful biography, An Original Man. Firstly, this book was poorly written - it read like a 440 page story in the National Enquirer than an actual biography. Secondly, even though he cites his sources throughout the book, I still have a hard time trusting his findings and conclusions. A lot of it seems to be guesswork and wishful thinking, attempting to establish connections where the evidence for them is suspect. Since so m...more
Kelvin Reed
Karl Evanzz wrote a fascinating account of how power corrupts. Evanzz supported his biography of the man responsible for the enormous growth of the Nation of Islam with almost 200 pages of documentation. However, he clearly lost all objectivity toward the second half of the book. Yet, I found this true story to be a compelling one worth reading.
Charlie Rosenthal
A perfectly competent biography of Elijah Muhammad. Occasionally feels a bit more like a history of the NOI, but that's fine, considering how central to everything the NOI did Muhammad was.
Dawn Wells
Not a fan of Elijah Muhammad but this book about him is very well written. The author wrote a very detailed, unbiased book on a very sick man.
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