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  • Published: 11 May 2001
  • ISBN: 9780141185439
  • Imprint: Peng. Mod. Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $22.99

The Autobiography Of Malcolm X



Malcolm X's The Autobiography of Malcolm X was written in collaboration with Alex Haley, author of Roots, and includes an introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic, in Penguin Modern Classics.From hustling, drug addiction and armed violence in America's black ghettos Malcolm X turned, in a dramatic prison conversion, to the puritanical fervour of the Black Muslims. As their spokesman he became identified in the white press as a terrifying teacher of race hatred; but to his direct audience, the oppressed American blacks, he brought hope and self-respect. This autobiography (written with Alex Haley) reveals his quick-witted integrity, usually obscured by batteries of frenzied headlines, and the fierce idealism which led him to reject both liberal hypocrisies and black racialism.Vilified by his critics as an anti-white demagogue, Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African-Americans, bringing them pride, hope and fearlessness, and remains an inspirational and controversial figure.Malcolm X (1925-65), born Malcolm Little in Omaha, and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, lost both his parents at a young age. Leaving school early, he soon became part of Harlem's underworld, and in 1946 he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. It was in prison that Malcolm X converted to Islam. Paroled in 1952, he became an outspoken defender of Muslim doctrines, formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1963, and had received considerable publicity by the time of his assassination in 1965.If you enjoyed The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you might like Nelson Mandela's No Easy Walk to Freedom, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.'This extraordinary autobiography is a brilliant, painful, important book'The New York Times

  • Published: 11 May 2001
  • ISBN: 9780141185439
  • Imprint: Peng. Mod. Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $22.99

About the authors

Alex Haley

Alex Haley was born in Ithaca, New York in 1921. He grew up in the South, the son of Simon Alexander Haley, a teacher, and the former Bertha George Palmer, also a teacher. In 1939 Haley began a twenty year service with the coast guard. It was during his service that he began to write. After World War II, Haley was able to petition the Coast Guard to allow him to transfer into the field of journalism, and by 1949 he had become a First Class Petty Officer in the rate of Journalist. He later advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer and held this grade until his retirement from the Coast Guard in 1959.

After his retirement from the Coast Guard, Haley began his writing career and eventually became a senior editor for Reader's Digest. Haley conducted the first Playboy Interview for Playboy magazine. The interview, with jazz legend Miles Davis, appeared in the September 1962 issue. Throughout the 1960s, Haley was responsible for some of the magazine's most notable interviews, including an interview with American Nazi Party leader, George Lincoln Rockwell and an interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which was the longest he ever granted to any publication. One of Haley's most famous interviews was a 1963 interview with Malcolm X for Playboy, which led to collaboration on the activist's autobiography. Haley later ghostwrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X, based on interviews conducted shortly before Malcolm's death. The book was published in 1965 and was a huge success, later named by Time magazine one of the ten most important nonfiction books of the twentieth century. In 1976 Haley published Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a novel based loosely on his family's history. Haley traced in it his ancestry back to Africa and covered seven American generations, starting from his ancestor, Kunta Kinte. Roots was eventually published in 37 languages, won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to become a popular television miniseries in 1977, as well as causing a renewed interest in genealogy. In the late 1980s, Haley began working on a second historical novel based on another branch of his family. Haley died in Seattle, Washington of a heart attack before he could complete the story; at his request, it was finished by David Stevens and was published as Alex Haley's Queen. It was subsequently made into a movie in 1993.Haley was also posthumously awarded the Korean War Service Medal from the government of South Korea ten years after his death.

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