Features Magazine Volume 69, Issue 5

Book of the Month: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a lightning-in-a-bottle of an autobiography in how Malcolm X can tell the story of his whole life up until shortly before his death. What makes Malcolm’s last interviews so ominous and melancholy is that he knows he is going to die soon and is reflecting on everything he wishes he could’ve done with his life.

With the book covering and explaining his entire life, it serves not only as a character study, but as a history lesson. The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a collection of Alex Haley’s in-depth interviews with Malcolm X prior to his death. The book spans the entirety of Malcolm X’s life, from his earliest vivid memory to his final interview, which was about a month before his assassination. The rest of his life ,and what followed, was filled in by Alex Haley. The book is very linear in how Malcolm tells his story, which allows us to place ourselves in Malcolm’s mind at that moment.

During his time, Malcolm X was very misunderstood, to say the least. And now, most do not know who he really was. But Malcolm X’s autobiography, which was made and published while segregation was still in place, makes little mention of segregation. Malcom X’s comments on racism are much more timeless, he focuses less on segregation and more on the centuries worth of brainwashing in America which has led to internalized racism. This in-depth history of Malcolm’s life is a brilliantly told piece of education and has become the most important book I’ve ever read.