Malcolm X

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The road to enlightenment can be a long one, and each individual step can be seen in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. In a little over five hundred pages, Alex Haley brings a picture of Malcolm X to life, to let people get to know the man behind the message. Alex Haley retells the story he gained through interviews with Malcolm X of a life that follows Malcolm's dubious entry into a life of small town racism, follows him in his early start in crime, and goes on to tell of the painstaking steps into enlightenment that changed Malcolm's life forever. Through the early years, to the crime-filled years, past the prison years, to the man who came into the public eye, the story hits on every step of Malcolm's life. Alex Haley was a writer. He was not a good student in school, but he could write. The Autobiography of Malcolm X was his first major work, and it is simply amazing in its capacity to tell the story of one man's life.

Alex Haley was also the man to write Roots, a multi-generational story about his ancestry, most notably of the man named Kunta Kinte. For his efforts, he won a National Book Award and a special Pulitzer prize. But the focus here is on Malcolm X. The retelling of his life is for everyone, and it was for everyone that Malcolm sent out his message.

The book begins with a story of violence, as his mother faced down the Ku Klux Klan searching for his father, obviously pregnant. It follows his birth as the seventh child of Reverend Earl Little, a Baptist preacher, and the various moves to escape retaliation from the Black Legion. In 1931, Malcolm's father was found dead, and life changed for him. His...