Valerie's Reviews > Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

Malcolm X by Manning Marable
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's review
Aug 25, 2012

really liked it
Read from August 22 to 25, 2012

"But the biographer has an additional burden: to explain events and the perspectives and actions of others that the subject could not possibly know, that nevertheless had a direct bearing on the individual’s life." Marable does this well, and overall I liked this book quite a bit, felt I learned a lot from it. However, I could have done without some of the totally unsupported wild speculation about Malcolm X's motives sprinkled (sparingly) throughout, such as when Marable claims he relaxed security and reversed himself on his family's presence at his final appearance and, ultimately, assassination, in order to set up parallels between his own assassination and that of the martyrdom of Imam Husain at Karbala. Marable offers no support for this assertion, and it adds nothing to the reader's understanding of Malcolm X's life, legacy, or actions, although it surely would have been a remarkable feat for a relatively recent convert to Sunni Islam with, by all accounts, a limited (but growing) grasp of Orthodox Islam at all, let alone something like Shia hagiography (now I'm the one making wild guesses!) and no known psychic powers. Overall I really liked it, but needed to skim a few annoying bits, as above.

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message 1: by Anne (new)

Anne Slater Valerie: Now I have to read the Marable... Since you read it, you've probably read his autobiography, written with Alex Haley. I was all of ~31 when I read it and still remember (40 years later) the impact it had on me.

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