I have to admit, this book is the reason I stopped writing reviews last year. It’s an important book, people. It’s been lauded since 1965. Proof:
“Extraordinary . . . [a] brilliant, painful, important book.”
—Eliot Fremont-Smith, New York Times, 1965
“Will surely become one of the classics in American autobiography.” —John William Ward, historian, 1967
“A mesmerizing page-turner.” —Variety, 1992
“Required reading.” —TIME, 1998
It’s so celebrated that I didn’t know how to write anything that a) would do it any justice, and b) would not make me look like an ass. I still don’t. But what I do know is that getting to read this book was absolutely worth my process of stealing it from my hometown library, carting it half way across the country, getting snitched on by my mother, and subsequently scolded by my librarian (and one-time babysitter). It’s important for a reason. Malcolm X was a truly remarkable man and, though I don’t agree with much of what he preached for most of his career—the Nation of Islam is a whole other kettle of fish that I can’t even pretend to understand—there are some extremely powerful messages to be found in his life story and lessons to be learned from the life (or lives) that he lived. I am glad I read it. You should, too.
Don’t be afraid. I won’t smite you. Probably.