No matter what your political leanings, it’s definitely worth taking a look at this novel. Many people discount Malcolm X’s autobiography, due to preconceived ideas about Malcolm X as a person and political figure, but it’s definitely worth reading it. There is a lot that Malcolm X said that has relevance and importance in today’s world, and there is plenty of interesting material to be found in this book’s pages.
Malcolm X created this book with assistance from Alex Haley, but it doesn’t read like a ghostwritten autobiography. It flows like a monologue from Malcolm X himself, and is very easy reading – we are taken right from his upbringing, to his prison stay, to his career as an advocate for the Nation of Islam and finally his untimely end. It’s vital to read the ending notes from Alex Haley, as they neatly encapsulate the process of writing the book with Malcolm X and describe his death in a way that fits with the narrative and provides closure that its exclusion would sadly lack.
Many have said that this book should be required reading for everybody, and I’m inclined to agree – not because of any personal opinion I have on Malcolm’s positions and writings, but because there is so much ‘common knowledge’ about Malcolm X that is untrue or inaccurate. There are a lot of opinions people have about him, the Nation of Islam, and general Afro-centric thought and opinion that has been formed by media representations, by people making jokes, simply by depictions in all forms of media. Even if someone is seeking to learn some things about Islam, then this book does an excellent job of teaching – it’s very interesting to see Malcolm X’s approach to Islam and his personal beliefs change throughout his life.
In this sense, there is plenty to be gleaned from this book that still has relevance today. It’s an invaluable piece of American history that still holds plenty of relevance today, and is definitely worth checking out. You’re sure to learn a lot, and it might give you some true insight into the history of the black struggle in America, which I think is still a tremendous issue that affects the entire world in many ways – even for those living outside of America, it’s worthwhile picking up this piece of history from a very influential country and man.