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Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction. The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.” In tracing Malcolm X’s life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl’s death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm’s exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary. With a biographer’s unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations—from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder “Fard Muhammad,” who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz’s 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X’s murder at the Audubon Ballroom. Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.


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Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction. The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.” In tracing Malcolm X’s life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl’s death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm’s exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary. With a biographer’s unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations—from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder “Fard Muhammad,” who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz’s 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X’s murder at the Audubon Ballroom. Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.

30 review for The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Shepherd

    “The French people have placed the negro soldier in France on an equality with the white man, and it has gone to their heads.” ~Woodrow Wilson, 1919 Malcolm X was a brilliant, courageous badass who saw American Christianity as an obstacle to equality and justice... “[Malcolm] launched a frontal assault upon the New Testament promise of the “hereafter” so widely accepted by Negroes, religious or not. Malcolm flatly dismissed all chances of human postmortem reward, proclaiming that there would be “n “The French people have placed the negro soldier in France on an equality with the white man, and it has gone to their heads.” ~Woodrow Wilson, 1919 Malcolm X was a brilliant, courageous badass who saw American Christianity as an obstacle to equality and justice... “[Malcolm] launched a frontal assault upon the New Testament promise of the “hereafter” so widely accepted by Negroes, religious or not. Malcolm flatly dismissed all chances of human postmortem reward, proclaiming that there would be “no Heaven beyond the grave.” A few in the audience gasped. American Negroes, “the lost sheep,” Malcolm thundered, would progress only when they forsook the Christian yearning for the hereafter and devote themselves to Muslim concerns for the right-down here and now.” (pg 314) And why not rebel against the same articles of faith that were cited time and time again to justify slavery? Why not rebel against the same scripture that was interpreted as “proof” of white supremacy? Why not throw off the yoke that helped maintain an unjust status quo? “...Malcolm flogged Christianity up hill and down dale... he dismissed organized church enterprises as an insidious confidence game with a sad history of duping poor people the world over. He blistered high-living clergy for dressing in splendor while their parishioners struggled to put pork chops and collard greens on the table.” (pg 399) Malcolm saw clearly that the Bible had become a tool of oppression, an instrument of hardship, used to elevate one race and subjugate another. What he couldn’t see, at least not until the twilight of his very short life, was that false prophets are everywhere... “The spartan Malcolm could no longer suppress the realization that, like the Christian ministers he attacked, [Elijah] Muhammad and his Royal Family engaged in conspicuous consumption while presiding over a struggling, low-income, working-class flock.” (pg 399) Let’s face it, we all know how this story ends. Malcolm, like Abraham, like John, like Martin, like Bobby, didn’t get to write the ending of his own story. Somebody else wrote it for him. Authors Les and Tamara Payne document the evolution of an extraordinary life, and they do it beautifully and without undue reverence. Five stars. NOTE: My high regard for Malcolm always feels a little like cultural appropriation. I tread lightly out of respect and because I am aware that I will never know what it is like to grow up as a black man in America. All I can say is that I am striving to better understand that experience. -Kevin

  2. 5 out of 5

    Murtaza

    Like many people around the world, The Autobiography of Malcolm X had a powerful impact on my own life and upbringing. For a certain sort of person, Malcolm X remains something close to a saint. He was a symbol of both resistance to oppression and inextinguishable human potential. For people who loved Malcolm, this book fills in more details about his life by doing the painstaking journalistic work of tracking those still living who knew him. Les Payne was a truly dogged journalist, as you can t Like many people around the world, The Autobiography of Malcolm X had a powerful impact on my own life and upbringing. For a certain sort of person, Malcolm X remains something close to a saint. He was a symbol of both resistance to oppression and inextinguishable human potential. For people who loved Malcolm, this book fills in more details about his life by doing the painstaking journalistic work of tracking those still living who knew him. Les Payne was a truly dogged journalist, as you can tell from his work here. Payne goes through the Autobiography and tracks down the living, breathing people who made up Malcolm's world and gets them to narrate the Malcolm that they knew. He also pores through the reams of documentation produced about Malcolm during his life to give the fullest picture possible. It is clear that Payne himself is someone who loved Malcolm X and considered him important to his own life. Only that kind of dedication spurs such intimate labor. The shape of this book is interesting since Malcolm himself is almost always described in absence. Unlike the Autobiography, his own quoted words here are very sparing. The narrative is mostly driven by the people from his life that Payne managed to track down as well as the historical context that Payne himself writes into the narrative. The book heavily focuses on the earlier periods of Malcolm's life and gives more detail about the painful collapse of his family, particularly the death of his father in a streetcar accident rumored (likely falsely) to have involved in the KKK. There is also some later detective work around the mysterious W.D. Fard, the founder of the Nation of Islam whom Payne seems to determine from police records was in fact a white New Zealander. Throughout the book effort is given to provide maximum context to the physical and spiritual environment facing African-Americans during Malcolm's lifetime, with generous segues into the life of proto-reformers like Noble Drew Ali and less famous African-Americans who suffered or fought back the terrors of America's racial caste system. One of the most exceptional parts of the book is the insider perspective on a meeting ordered by Elijah Muhammed that took place between Malcolm and several KKK leaders at a house in Georgia. Payne fills in vivid details about this controversial rendezvous by interviewing the other NOI leader who had been present with Malcolm at the tense gathering. When you love someone you want to know everything about them. That so many decades after his passing people are publishing books like this, seeking to uncover every tiny detail about Malcolm X's life, is a testament to what a monumental impact he had on humanity in just thirty-nine short years of life. This book is recommended for those who have read the Autobiography yet still want to know more about this remarkable individual – one of the most important Americans and Muslims of the 20th century.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    Winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction 2020 Les Payne worked on this book for almost 30 years, and it shows: This account of Malcolm X's life, completed after Payne's death by his daughter and primary researcher Tamara, finds an organic and often poetic way to piece together the events and decisions that made the human rights activist and Muslim minister who he was. Filled to the brim with detail and background information (for instance about the Nation of Islam and its goals) and rend Winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction 2020 Les Payne worked on this book for almost 30 years, and it shows: This account of Malcolm X's life, completed after Payne's death by his daughter and primary researcher Tamara, finds an organic and often poetic way to piece together the events and decisions that made the human rights activist and Muslim minister who he was. Filled to the brim with detail and background information (for instance about the Nation of Islam and its goals) and rendered vivid through elements of an oral history, this biography paints a nuanced picture that allows readers to ponder and judge instead of telling them what to think - and that's always a sign of great research journalism. The book starts out before Malcolm X's birth, when his mother was terrorized and threatened by the KKK while pregnant with him. His father, minister Earl Little, faced a lot of hate because he was an activist for the Black cause, including having the family home burnt down...I don't know about you, but I was unaware of those details, although it's apparent how relevant they are for Malcolm X's later life, and the book manages to excellently balance re-telling and interpretation, the latter not without questioning its protagonist's point of view (for instance regarding Earl Little's death, which was probably not due to an act of racical violence, but just an accident). Frequently, the book compares the depiction in The Autobiography of Malcolm X (written by the man himself) with research findings and discusses or adds informations, especially regarding X's criminal offenses (which happened after his widowed mother was institutionalized for mental illness). And then there are of course the more well-known episodes portraying X's activism, views, and assassination, all of them rendered in a lively, yet sober way. A great book for everybody who wants to learn more about Malcolm X and is willing to really dive into the intricacies and backstory of his life, times, and legacy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    National Book Award for Nonfiction 2020. Les Payne and his daughter, Tamara Payne, focused their 30 years of research on Malcolm X, the man, versus the iconic myth surrounding the Black revolutionary leader. Malcolm’s parents, Earl Little, from Georgia, and Louise Helen Little, from Grenada, met in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). This was one of the most important Black organizations of the 20th century, and its leader Marcus Garvey was a personal acquaintance of Earl Little. National Book Award for Nonfiction 2020. Les Payne and his daughter, Tamara Payne, focused their 30 years of research on Malcolm X, the man, versus the iconic myth surrounding the Black revolutionary leader. Malcolm’s parents, Earl Little, from Georgia, and Louise Helen Little, from Grenada, met in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). This was one of the most important Black organizations of the 20th century, and its leader Marcus Garvey was a personal acquaintance of Earl Little. Garvey spoke of Black pride, independence and repatriation back to Africa, and this became the core of Malcolm’s beliefs. Earl Little died when a tram ran over him when Malcolm was just six years old. His mother held the family together for a few years before succumbing to poverty and mental illness. At thirteen and in foster care, Malcolm slowly became enamored of the life of thievery, drug dealing, and more until he was convicted at age twenty. While incarcerated, he read widely and accepted the teachings of the Nation of Islam and dedicated himself to serving its leader, Elijah Mohammad. Malcolm eventually broke with the Nation of Islam, choosing Sunni Islam as his preferred religion, and began pursuing a global, human-rights-based movement for Black liberation. This did not sit well with Elijah Mohammad, and an order for Malcolm’s assassination was given. (There is circumstantial evidence that the FBI and New York City police may have been complicit as well. They certainly had Malcolm under continuous surveillance.) At the age of 40, Malcolm was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem just as he was starting to speak. Of note, Louis Farrakhan, the current leader of the NOI, admits that he may have been complicit as well. Malcolm X’s legacy is that he had a sophisticated understanding of racism. He shunned false promises of reform, arguing that “this system can no more provide freedom, justice and equality than a chicken can lay a duck egg”. The Black Lives Matter movement seeking equal justice owes much to the Black leaders of the 1960s like Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Recommend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Maybe I'm the last of the Mohicans, but I knew precious little about Malcolm X (beyond hearing of him a lot) and decided to plug the historical gap in my education by reading this book. Exhaustive is a good word for it -- thorough as all get-out, meaning that sometimes the thoroughness might try you, as in all the info about Malcolm's parents (before we even get to Malcolm) and his father's political/religious beliefs, and then all the background info about the Nation of Islam. Turns out, though, Maybe I'm the last of the Mohicans, but I knew precious little about Malcolm X (beyond hearing of him a lot) and decided to plug the historical gap in my education by reading this book. Exhaustive is a good word for it -- thorough as all get-out, meaning that sometimes the thoroughness might try you, as in all the info about Malcolm's parents (before we even get to Malcolm) and his father's political/religious beliefs, and then all the background info about the Nation of Islam. Turns out, though, that the NOI knowledge is necessary, as it all comes together in the 1965 hit job that took Malcolm down in Harlem. My knowledge of this was sketchy, but reading about it just brought all kinds of bad memories of '63 (JFK) and '68 (MLK and RFK). The 60s were like the Wild West or something, and the fact that many Americans *cheered* all four of these assassinations tells a disturbing truth about the legacy of America's original sin. In any event, the book finishes strong and it's good to know that Malcolm changed his "blacks vs. white devils" talk after his hajj, where he met people of all skin and eye colors bound not by race but by faith in Islam. He was a new man after that, but by then he had made too many enemies. The rest is history, the kind we can't be terribly proud of but have to face head on if we're ever going to come together as a nation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Congratulations!! 🎊 National Book Award Winner!! The Dead Are Arising is the collaborative effort of Les Payne and his daughter Tamara. For the heralded columnist this is his opus, a thirty year labor of love. For Tamara Payne it is a testament to her father as much as it is to Malcolm. This past Friday I had the pleasure of seeing Tamara Payne interviewed on Politics and Prose. In discussing the direction of The Dead Are Arising she explained how our love for the man clouds our vision of him. Congratulations!! 🎊 National Book Award Winner!! The Dead Are Arising is the collaborative effort of Les Payne and his daughter Tamara. For the heralded columnist this is his opus, a thirty year labor of love. For Tamara Payne it is a testament to her father as much as it is to Malcolm. This past Friday I had the pleasure of seeing Tamara Payne interviewed on Politics and Prose. In discussing the direction of The Dead Are Arising she explained how our love for the man clouds our vision of him. That we tend to see him in a vacuum. He is this myth of a man and we forget that he is a man who had a family. These extensions of himself that are still grounded here. His legacy lives on in them and although we as a public want to claim him, he really isn't ours to own. In expressing these sentiments she could have been talking about Malcolm or her father Les Payne. In completing this book, one of Payne's chief aims was to be true to her father's voice. As his daughter, this book was her gift to the rest of his family; her hope that they would hear his voice as they read its pages. The Dead Are Arising is the culmination of hundreds of interviews with the people who knew Malcolm best. While reading the book I found it hard not to compare it to The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This was in part because I read it directly before delving into this work, but also because the authors refer to it throughout. As a scientist, I considered this a natural part of being a researcher where your role is to verify the validity of the data presented to you. In some cases The Autobiography is supported. In others it is refuted. Within its pages we get a new perspective of his early life and family dynamics. The previous claim that Malcolm's father was murdered by the Klan is challenged. More attention is paid to the structure and the founding of the Nation of Islam. Most revelatory for me was the passages that detailed Malcolm's meeting with the Ku Klux Klan in 1961 and the coverage of his assassination. Payne is very protective of her subject. In fact fans of Marable's book have criticized The Dead Are Arising for being too generous towards Malcolm's legacy. His criminal activities are not as extensive or terrible as they appear in his autobiography. Miss Payne accounts for this difference by claiming that the purpose of exaggerating Malcolm's street life in The Autobiography sets the stage for his origin myth. The more despicable a picture you paint of your past, the greater the redemptive value of your religious conversion. The Dead Are Arising was an engrossing read. A vivid portrait, it gives insight into Malcolm Little, the child and El Hajj Malik Shabazz, the man. I believe Tamara Payne has done what she set out to do - amplify the voices of both her father and Malcolm

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Macnair

    This is great companion reading to the Autobiography of Malcolm X. It parses through Malcolm's life using interviews with his siblings as well as many people who knew him personally in order to flesh out a full version of his life. It gives you a better idea of who Malcolm was in all of the major phases of his life. Of course, there are some things that seem consequential in his autobiography which barely get a mention here, but that most likely has to do with being able to corroborate the stori This is great companion reading to the Autobiography of Malcolm X. It parses through Malcolm's life using interviews with his siblings as well as many people who knew him personally in order to flesh out a full version of his life. It gives you a better idea of who Malcolm was in all of the major phases of his life. Of course, there are some things that seem consequential in his autobiography which barely get a mention here, but that most likely has to do with being able to corroborate the stories. This is extremely readable and thorough. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to know a bit more about Malcolm X than just what you read in his autobiography or saw in the movie.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andre

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ohhh maaan! Riveting! Updated 11/24. 👉🏿 At the risk of succumbing to recency bias, I am naming this as the best book on Malcolm, biography or otherwise that has ever been written. The Paynes have given us a work that takes a thorough lens into Malcolm’s life, with special emphasis on his childhood. This childhood inspection aided by extensive interviews coupled with diligent and prodigious research brilliantly explains how Malcolm X came to dominate the world stage The meticulous research always Ohhh maaan! Riveting! Updated 11/24. 👉🏿 At the risk of succumbing to recency bias, I am naming this as the best book on Malcolm, biography or otherwise that has ever been written. The Paynes have given us a work that takes a thorough lens into Malcolm’s life, with special emphasis on his childhood. This childhood inspection aided by extensive interviews coupled with diligent and prodigious research brilliantly explains how Malcolm X came to dominate the world stage The meticulous research always shows up on the page and we learn Malcolm was developing a pro-Black consciousness very early in life, mostly because of his parents being fervent supporters of Marcus Garvey and his uplift the race program and policies. In Malcolm’s autobiography, Malcolm often credited the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad for his rising consciousness and awareness. Les Payne has leaned heavily on his reporting skills to unearth a much more nuanced view of Malcolm’s African centered worldview. And the childhood Malcolm is not the only enhanced look he gifts the reader in this amazing book. In fact, there are key moments and events in Malcolm’s life that are showing up in print for the first time. A small amount of the book acts a corrective to The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Les Payne makes clear the Autobiography was penned with an agenda (as most are) to heighten the stature and status of the NOI by showcasing their hand in raising Malcolm X from the dead level. In effect saying that if the Nation and Elijah Muhammad can create a Malcolm X, what could it do for the average Black man? In mentioning and writing about material left out of Malcolm’s life story, Les Payne seems to tell us to look deeper and rightfully so. It’s not a malicious urging, but a loving one. It is that urging that puts us in the room when Malcolm and Jeremiah X, the Atlanta, GA minister at the time meet with Klan leader, W.S. Fellows with Elijah Muhammad’s blessing and encouragement. A meeting that Malcolm regretted enough to make sure it was excluded from his Autobiography. The writing (reporting) on this meeting is riveting. Certainly not one of the Nation’s finest moments, though Malcolm made the best of an unpleasant situation. Speaking of omissions, it is curious that Betty Shabazz’s voice is entirely absent from this book, the reason for that is not clear. Another glaring absence is the voice of Malcolm’s brothers concerning his assassination. This looms large because we get so much from them regarding Malcolm’s early life. It would have been priceless to hear their thoughts on their own actions after Malcolm was gunned down. And finally, what would an interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan have added to this magnificent work. Perhaps a first hand account why he was a reveler in the Newark, NJ mosque as a group of celebrants awaited word that the assassination had been successfully carried out. Les Payne declined to name the “leader” of this celebration and that is a disappointment only because he was so consistent on naming folks throughout the book, even correcting the many pseudonyms used in the Autobiography. So it invites the big question, WHY? These minor absences are slight annoyances in what is a mesmerizing account of Malcolm’s life. For one who wishes to research the life and times of Malcolm X, this book is now the starting point.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    an exhaustive and thorough telling of Malcolm's life. It reads like an act of love by someone who wants to know and tell the absolute truth about a man as a way to feel closer to him. Payne does a great job contextualizing Malcolm's life, choices, and circumstances. an exhaustive and thorough telling of Malcolm's life. It reads like an act of love by someone who wants to know and tell the absolute truth about a man as a way to feel closer to him. Payne does a great job contextualizing Malcolm's life, choices, and circumstances.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Rush

    I first read “The Autobiography Of Malcolm X” 38 years ago, in 1982. I have read the book more than 5 additional times, each time offering new insights. The book was so inspiring that I have been obsessed with knowing more about him. I have reviewed a wide scope of works in reference to Malcolm, so it is easy for me to become complacent and to think that there is very little that is ever going to be presented that is new. This new book by Les Payne proves me wrong. I purchased Payne's book on th I first read “The Autobiography Of Malcolm X” 38 years ago, in 1982. I have read the book more than 5 additional times, each time offering new insights. The book was so inspiring that I have been obsessed with knowing more about him. I have reviewed a wide scope of works in reference to Malcolm, so it is easy for me to become complacent and to think that there is very little that is ever going to be presented that is new. This new book by Les Payne proves me wrong. I purchased Payne's book on the day of its release (October 20, 2020), and spent the next two weeks patiently going through it, going back and forth re-reading passages, careful to go over things in microscopic detail, all while taking notes. It would be fair to say that I read this book with more care and patience than any other book that I have ever read in my life. One of the reasons I love this book comes from the fact that so many people that Malcolm mentioned in his autobiography were interviewed, years after the fact, to get both their at-the-time thoughts about him and how they feel about him contemporarily. For anyone who truly knows The Autobiography, this is a treat. By choosing his investigative method, Les Payne is able to lay out a lot of new information. There are simply things here that one cannot find anywhere else in print, details that add to the richness that is the Malcolm X phenomenon. This is true of every phase of Malcolm's life, and as a staunch Malcolm supporter, I must say that there are some details here that made me wince and to feel quite sad in contemplating them. There is just so much here that no one else has ever covered in print, including extensive information that comes directly from Malcolm's siblings, who the author spent a great deal of time interviewing. I might also add that this book may well be the first or second best book ever, (along with Baba Zak A. Kondo's book) in terms of the details it uncovers about the behind the scenes planning and execution of the assassination, mainly because Payne actually interviewed people who were very much aware of the assassination's inner workings. There are at least two instances of those giving information in the last two or three days of their lives, as deathbed confessions. To this end, many of the questions I have always asked about Malcolm's assassination are answered. This is simply amazing, so amazing that when read in combination with Kondo's book, one gets a really clear picture of all of the parties who were responsible. Without giving anything away, the book will also make any reader pause and reevaluate Minister Louis Farrakhan's long-term position that he “had nothing to do” with Malcolm's assassination. A careful reader will walk away with his/her own opinion in regards to this, but there is some essential information here, and much to think about. All in all, I am thankful to Mr. Les Payne (and his daughter Tamara!) for doing the homework to put this book out, as I now believe, that after The Autobiography, it is the best book ever to cover Malcolm's life, in all of its complexity. This is a wonderful book. I said, “A wonderful book,” not a “perfect book.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    I Be Reading

    I adore Malcolm X and have read almost every book in existence about him. This one is an absolute must read for anyone that loves or is curious about Malcolm and his life. It is extremely well researched and thorough; lots of new information about Malcolm that is not mentioned in his autobiography or in other biographies about him. Very light on information about Betty and their daughters but thorough in identifying all the players in the Nation of Islam (several passages left me stunned). It is I adore Malcolm X and have read almost every book in existence about him. This one is an absolute must read for anyone that loves or is curious about Malcolm and his life. It is extremely well researched and thorough; lots of new information about Malcolm that is not mentioned in his autobiography or in other biographies about him. Very light on information about Betty and their daughters but thorough in identifying all the players in the Nation of Islam (several passages left me stunned). It is an excellent companion to Malcolm’s autobiography and I would recommend it over Manning Marable’s book (which was also good).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Gregorich

    The first chapter of this book begins with two gripping, life-and-death stories. The first is the story of Louise Little standing on the porch of her Omaha home, confronting the Klansmen who came to threaten, if not murder, her husband — who was in Milwaukee at the time. Surrounded by her three children, the eight-months pregnant Louise faced down the Klansmen. A month later, she gave birth to her fourth child: Malcolm. The second is the story of the 1919 Omaha race murders, in which a screaming, The first chapter of this book begins with two gripping, life-and-death stories. The first is the story of Louise Little standing on the porch of her Omaha home, confronting the Klansmen who came to threaten, if not murder, her husband — who was in Milwaukee at the time. Surrounded by her three children, the eight-months pregnant Louise faced down the Klansmen. A month later, she gave birth to her fourth child: Malcolm. The second is the story of the 1919 Omaha race murders, in which a screaming, inhuman mob of 10,000 to 20,000 whites demanded that the sheriff’s office turn over to them a Black man accused of assaulting a white woman, so that they could murder him. When the sheriff and his deputies refused, the mob proceeded to loot nearby stores, stealing more than a thousand revolvers and shotguns. Further, the mob threw gasoline on the courthouse and torched it. When the mayor came out to plead with the mob, he was hit over the head with a baseball bat, a noose was slipped around his neck, and he was dragged away, strung up on a traffic signal tower. His life was saved by agents in a high-powered automobile, but even so, the mayor remained in critical condition for two days. In order to escape the flames, the sheriff, his deputies, and 121 prisoners fled to the roof of the courthouse. The mob below severed the water hoses that the firemen were using, smashed to pieces the rescue ladders, and howled for the death of the lawmen and the prisoners. It didn’t matter who died, as long as the mob could murder the Black man accused of assaulting a white woman. And that they did: lynching him, riddling his body with hundreds of bullets, dragging the corpse behind an automobile, and, finally, dousing it with kerosene and setting it ablaze over a woodpile. Proud of themselves, thousands of the people in the mob (both men and women) had their photos taken next to the mutilated body of their innocent victim. This is the world that Malcolm Little was born into: that all American Black citizens were born into. Against the howling, looting, hate-filled mob, apt to break out anywhere, anytime, over any incident, a Black man or woman had to protect their life in any way they could. After this dramatic introduction to the reality of a Black person’s life here in the US, the authors of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, go into the details of young Malcolm Little’s life in Omaha, Milwaukee, and Lansing. The narrative is based on extensive interviews that Les Payne and his daughter Tamara conducted with many different people (chief among them Malcolm’s oldest brother, Wilfred) over a thirty-year period. As I read this engrossing book, which presents copious information on Malcolm’s life as a hustler, burglar, and procurer, and then examines his life in prison and his conversion to the religion of the Nation of Islam, I saw that the intellect and emotion in Malcolm made him choose to live the opposite of a “respectable” life. Since white society blocked all forward movement by Black people, why should he bother with anything whites considered “respectable.” But then came prison and the introduction to the Nation of Islam, which taught that Blacks and whites should live separately, and that Black Americans should run their own businesses and schools, so that they in no way relied upon or interacted with those who oppressed them. Malcolm was raised to consider himself the equal of any white person and to respect the struggles of Marcus Garvey (a separatist) for Black emancipation. It is easy to see how the teachings of Elijah Mohammad resonated with him. They did more than resonate: under Malcolm X’s leadership, these teachings were brought to hundreds of thousands of Black Americans, helping to instill Black pride and a militant spirit that demanded justice and was unwilling to accept the constant lies of politicians who wanted only to keep the lid on any demands for justice coming from anywhere or anybody. In recruiting people to the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was aided not only by his fearlessness and his high intelligence, but also by his understanding of the English language, his huge vocabulary, and his debating skills (which he studied while in prison). The authors weave the power of Malcolm X’s speaking throughout the book, and it is a pleasure to read those parts in which he speaks. (To understand the power of his speaking abilities, look at the books By Any Means Necessary and Malcolm X Speaks.) When people listened to Malcolm X speak, they felt his words in their core: they knew he was speaking the truth. And because of the power of his speeches and his character, because of his ever-evolving leadership, a price was put on Malcolm X’s head. And on February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated while speaking about his new organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, NY. The authors interviewed many key figures in that assassination, and they make clear what everybody back then believed — that the Nation of Islam assassins had the approval of the New York Police Department and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. In reading this book, I found myself wishing that the authors had spent more time on the changes in Malcolm X’s beliefs during the last year of his life, when he came to see that racism was a tool that capitalism uses to divide the working class, and when he came to understand that the struggle for Black equality takes place not only on a national scale, but also on a larger, international scale, where it is the struggle for human rights. However much I may wish for more about Malcolm X’s last year of life, the fact is that this book presents the information on his entire life fairly, vividly, and in proportion to the number of years he lived.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...

    This smart, thorough and interesting biography just knocked some other book off my Top 10 List for 2020.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mark Barrett

    The takeaway: I have not finished this book yet but in my opinion, it has not been very well-researched. I ultimately couldn't bring myself to purchase it due to the poor scholarship. Manning Marable's A Life of Reinvention remains the essential biography of Malcolm X. Good: I will say that the authors have done a great job in finding primary sources who knew Malcolm and his family and are willing to share their recollections. There were a lot of interesting anecdotes regarding Malcolm X and his The takeaway: I have not finished this book yet but in my opinion, it has not been very well-researched. I ultimately couldn't bring myself to purchase it due to the poor scholarship. Manning Marable's A Life of Reinvention remains the essential biography of Malcolm X. Good: I will say that the authors have done a great job in finding primary sources who knew Malcolm and his family and are willing to share their recollections. There were a lot of interesting anecdotes regarding Malcolm X and his contemporaries in this book that others do not have. Bad: "While The Dead Are Arising lacks the meticulous narrative structure and scholarly elegance of A Life of Reinvention, it never indulges in the sort of speculative sexual sideshow that has (in part) made Marable’s mostly brilliant biography so controversial." --from the NY Journal of Books review. This reviewer is referring to Malcolm's relationship with an older, white man named William Lennon. Malcolm worked for Lennon before going to prison and while in prison, maintained a relationship with him, mostly through written correspondence. Whether or not this relationship between Malcolm and William Lennon was sexual is not certain and Marable never claims otherwise but he does say that the evidence is compelling to suggest that it was. As scholarship and research goes, this is first-rate. Taking facts and extrapolating further meaning and possibilities from those facts is standard fare in a biography. But you can read Marable's book for yourself and make up your own mind. The Dead Are Arising does not mention: Malcolm knew Lennon, worked for him and exchanged letters with him. These are glossed or never mentioned in the book, inexcusable omissions in a work of biography. If you want some interesting stories and don't enjoy awkward facts, this is the Malcolm X biography for you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    James

    My 4th X bio. This and the marable could not be more different, but both are necessary.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Ebling

    Personally, it was much more interesting once it got to his later years. Fills in a lot of gaps from the autobiography, but certainly doesn't carry the impact of Malcolm's (through Alex Haley) own words. Personally, it was much more interesting once it got to his later years. Fills in a lot of gaps from the autobiography, but certainly doesn't carry the impact of Malcolm's (through Alex Haley) own words.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Danvers

    This book is remarkable for its vast amounts of original research, including many extensive interviews with firsthand witnesses to the events recounted. It adds to, but does not replace, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, which includes information not in this book. 600 pages can sound like a long book but this reads smoothly and captivates the reader, and the read does not seem like a long one (in addition to which, there's a good chunk of end notes & bibliography). This book is remarkable for its vast amounts of original research, including many extensive interviews with firsthand witnesses to the events recounted. It adds to, but does not replace, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, which includes information not in this book. 600 pages can sound like a long book but this reads smoothly and captivates the reader, and the read does not seem like a long one (in addition to which, there's a good chunk of end notes & bibliography).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krisette Spangler

    I really didn't feel this book was well written. It just repeated itself so often, and Malcolm's marriage wasn't mentioned until he had 3 children. I'm glad I finished reading it, because now I understand a little more about who Malcolm X was. He fought really hard against racism, and tried to help African Americans be proud of their heritage. I really didn't feel this book was well written. It just repeated itself so often, and Malcolm's marriage wasn't mentioned until he had 3 children. I'm glad I finished reading it, because now I understand a little more about who Malcolm X was. He fought really hard against racism, and tried to help African Americans be proud of their heritage.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Haroon

    I just finished this book and the first thing I want to tell you is to go and buy it as fast as you can. Then read it. ‘The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X’ was started by Les Payne, an award-winning journalist, and completed, after his unfortunate death, by his daughter, Tamara Payne. If you don’t know who Malcolm X is, this book is a capable, captivating, compelling illustration of the arc of his tremendous life. If you do know who Malcolm X is, you’ll know why you’ll want to read ever I just finished this book and the first thing I want to tell you is to go and buy it as fast as you can. Then read it. ‘The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X’ was started by Les Payne, an award-winning journalist, and completed, after his unfortunate death, by his daughter, Tamara Payne. If you don’t know who Malcolm X is, this book is a capable, captivating, compelling illustration of the arc of his tremendous life. If you do know who Malcolm X is, you’ll know why you’ll want to read everything about him, this latest title included. I was at an Eid (Muslim holiday) prayer service about two years ago when the Imam described Malcolm X as the most influential American Muslim ever. Some people in the audience must have indicated, by their expressions, that they disagreed, at which point the Imam said, “Name any book by any American Muslim that has had the impact on our community that Malcolm X’s autobiography did,” at which point he seemed to have won the argument. This latest book, I should hope, will sit alongside that autobiography as another work that Muslims, and especially Muslims still developing their identity, will read. Malcolm X was one of the founding figures of American Islam and one of the most important and influential icons of the last century. The more we know, the better. The more that is known, the better. I give the book 4 stars out of 5, though. It's missing a star for two reasons. One of them is what’s wrong with the book. One of them is what’s wrong with me. To the latter point, I’m not an expert in Black Muslim history, let alone Black American history, so I can’t say, with complete certainty, how truly reliable and accurate this book is. But from what I can tell, this is a really carefully researched, painstakingly composed work, which provides detail and nuance about Malcolm’s life that I didn’t know, and am so moved and grateful to have learned. As a biography, it seemingly provides a full, rich, captivating, and generally compassionate picture. Generally. Because, to my first point, I don’t know that author Les Payne was a person of faith, insofar as he is, at times, remarkably uncharitable about religion--take, for example, this sentence: “Yet with suppression and denial so much a part of the psyche of the religious convert...“--which also means that he can’t convey to the reader some of the most critical phases of Malcolm X’s life with the depth and nuance they deserve. After all, if a person doesn’t *get* religion, then how fully can that person tell you the story of the life of a person who converted twice in his life (to the Nation of Islam and then to Sunni Islam)? The effect is that, while the book is really interesting, at times it’s unfortunately a little too dismissive for my taste. (He calls the Nation of Islam a “cult,” although, after describing the Nation’s executive’s role in Malcolm’s martyrdom, I confess I am not overly sympathetic.) But, to be absolutely honest with you, that’s a minor quibble. I devoured this book. I loved reading it. I think you will, too. If only another Eid was around the corner, I’d say this was a great gift to buy yourself, or your friends, or all of you.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Craig Amason

    I knew very little about the life of Malcolm X -- only what I had read about his intersection with other prominent figures from the Civil Rights Movement such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or commentary on his approach to social justice by humanitarians such as Lillian E. Smith. I never read his autobiography, mainly because I knew he was such a controversial character who wrote the book when he was rather young (he died at age 39), so I didn't think it would offer proper context for a person who h I knew very little about the life of Malcolm X -- only what I had read about his intersection with other prominent figures from the Civil Rights Movement such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or commentary on his approach to social justice by humanitarians such as Lillian E. Smith. I never read his autobiography, mainly because I knew he was such a controversial character who wrote the book when he was rather young (he died at age 39), so I didn't think it would offer proper context for a person who had such an impact on modern American history. As lengthy as Payne's book is, based on decades of research and interviews, there are doubtless gaps in the story of his subject's life and work. I had a pre-conceived image of someone who was much more violent than Malcolm X actually was based on Payne's book. I was intrigued with how the man born Malcolm Little evolved from being a petty criminal, often robbing even members of his own family, to become an intellectual force to be reckoned with by the U.S. government and even foreign powers. It may not be fair to say that a few years in prison turned his life around. It would even be a weak cliché; however, there is no doubt that some of the relationships he developed with older mentors he met while in prison had a tremendous impact on his self-awareness, his belief system, his intelligence, his understanding of racial inequality, and his vision for the future of African-Americans. It was also interesting to watch how he eventually abandoned his complete devotion to Elijah Muhammad as the head of the political organization, Nation of Islam, to pursue his own leadership role within the framework of Islam as a world religion. Leaving the NOI and speaking out against it precipitated his violent death. Before he died, Malcolm moved to the forefront in the fight for civil rights and was unapologetic about the means employed to overcome racial injustice. Malcolm X had no patience for pacifists who advocated a moderate approach. He wasn't asking for justice -- he demanded it. Malcolm's parents were heavily influenced by the separatist and sovereign ideas for people of color espoused by Marcus Garvey, which probably led Malcolm to make distinctions between segregation and separation. The former was imposed, but the latter was voluntary and desirable -- a fascinating perspective. He wanted to see black people become completely independent of white influence, dominance, and charity. His disdain for white people (white devils, as he called them) waned toward the end of his life, but he never felt compelled to be conciliatory or to make excuses for racial discrimination and the privileged white society that perpetuated it. Nobody could ever mistake Malcolm X for a "team player," and his vision for black people presented a stark contrast to that of MLK, Jr. I believe the most impressive weapon that Malcolm X conceived to combat the U.S. government, which considered him a serious threat to the American white power structure, was his initiative to persuade members of the United Nations to bring formal complaints against the U.S. for human rights violations against people of color. He didn't succeed, although had he not been assassinated he may have made strides toward that end. This audiobook is fine. The reader has a soft, calming voice, which is ironic considering the personality at the center of the book. Unfortunately, his voice is too soft at times, and he has a tendency to drift off at the end of some sentences, making it difficult to understand his final words of a phrase. This is only a minor annoyance in an otherwise good book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miroku Nemeth

    I'm glad this book was published and that it is getting some publicity. It sets a lot straight about Malcolm's life in a manner much more thoroughly researched and balanced than Marable's flawed and, at times, groundless, salacious, and insulting work that received too much press for its worth. The material on Malcolm's parents background in the UNIA of Marcus Garvey is extremely valuable, because Malcolm was raised with beliefs from his parents that sharply distinguished him in outlook and acti I'm glad this book was published and that it is getting some publicity. It sets a lot straight about Malcolm's life in a manner much more thoroughly researched and balanced than Marable's flawed and, at times, groundless, salacious, and insulting work that received too much press for its worth. The material on Malcolm's parents background in the UNIA of Marcus Garvey is extremely valuable, because Malcolm was raised with beliefs from his parents that sharply distinguished him in outlook and activism that he carried with him into the NOI. While "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" is one of the greatest works of American literature, and has changed many lives, including mine, Malcolm began writing the book to get back into Elijah Muhammad's good graces, and much of the book is colored with his true believer outlook and permeated with the strange and, for Sunni Muslims, absurd beliefs of the NOI. Thus, while there are allusions to aspects of the militancy of his parents as members of the UNIA, Malcolm had intentionally downplayed all other influences than the NOI in his text. When he finally decided to split with Elijah Muhammad, partially because of his accommodations to working with the KKK and the American Nazi Party to try to get a land deal for the NOI in keeping to their shared segregationist beliefs, and partially because of the hypocrisy that he saw in Elijah Muhammad having extra-marital affairs with teenage secretaries, Malcolm did consider rewriting the entire autobiography in a different light, something that Alex Halley convinced him not to do, and something that is regrettable in many ways. Payne elaborates on Elijah Muhammad's deal-making with the KKK more than any other text I have read on Malcolm's life, and it is an important piece in the puzzle to understanding why Malcolm broke with the NOI and hints and explicit things he said about this before he was murdered by a conspiracy that went straight from the top of NOI leadership, including Elijah Muhammad, through the NOI Newark Temple. This text does a good job of highlighting the ways in which Malcolm struggled with the ways in which the NOI leadership tried to restrain him both religiously and in activism, and the difference between heaven and earth that was the small and strange cult of the NOI and Islam as a perennial and world religion. It is a valuable work, and I hope more like it appear, and that subpar works like Marable's are assigned to the garbage bin where they belong. A great complement to the autobiography, really, and worth having in your library.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Finished: 28.12.2020 Conclusion: Decades of research went into the creation of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne, a fully realized portrait of Malcolm X. Pulitzer Prize winner Les Payne set out to interview anyone who had ever known Malcolm X, and after his death in 2018, his daughter and researcher Tamara Payne completed his work. This was a absolutely stunning book! Part 1: Malcolm’s young years 1- 15 yrs Part 2: Malcom move to live with half sister in Bo Finished: 28.12.2020 Conclusion: Decades of research went into the creation of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne, a fully realized portrait of Malcolm X. Pulitzer Prize winner Les Payne set out to interview anyone who had ever known Malcolm X, and after his death in 2018, his daughter and researcher Tamara Payne completed his work. This was a absolutely stunning book! Part 1: Malcolm’s young years 1- 15 yrs Part 2: Malcom move to live with half sister in Boston ….he is street wise and soon ends up in jail. These two sections are just the pre-show …and can feel a bit slow at times. Do not stop reading because Malcolm’s biography … is a riveting a page-turner! Les Payne has included many new items of information that Malcolm X…LEFT out of his own …autobiography written with Alex Haley. Last Thoughts: This book filled in a lot of gaps in my memory of the 1960s. Growing up I had heard of Malcom X ….but only knew he was assassinated on February 25 1965. Why? Who was involved? I had no idea. The mainstream media placed …the spotlight on Martin Luther King …and left Malcom X in the shadows of my mind. Now…finally I know why Malcom X was killed …but it took 55 years and the painstaking research of Les Payne to solve this crime #MustRead

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Detailed Exploration of Malcolm X's Life and Death Very informative, deep dive into the live of the compelling Malcolm X. I appreciated how this book really expands on The Autobiography of Malcolm X and how it differentiates the incidents and people in Autobiography from the more detailed reality of what actually happened. For example, Autobiography uses composites from real people and events in Malcolm D's life to tell his story. However, The Dead Are Arising goes further and really names the tr Detailed Exploration of Malcolm X's Life and Death Very informative, deep dive into the live of the compelling Malcolm X. I appreciated how this book really expands on The Autobiography of Malcolm X and how it differentiates the incidents and people in Autobiography from the more detailed reality of what actually happened. For example, Autobiography uses composites from real people and events in Malcolm D's life to tell his story. However, The Dead Are Arising goes further and really names the true people and defines the events explored in Malcolm D's Autobiography (co-authored by the outstanding Alex Haley, whose main body of works were historical fiction (though based on detailed research)). While I learned a great deal from this book, especially about the NOI (Nation of Islam/Black Muslim movement) and how it differs from orthodox Islamic beliefs, I was somewhat disappointed by the uneven writing in this book. As it was authored by Led Payne, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and editor, I expected more. Perhaps because it was assembled posthumously by his daughter, Tamara Payne, who was very involved in the research for the book, instead of composed as a whole by Les Payne. Despite this it is an extremely worthwhile read especially as a companion to The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” by Les Payne and Tamara Payne is a difficult book to review. The authors deserve high praise for their extensive research; and the information and analysis contained in the book. I knew little about the life of Malcolm X before reading the book and now have a pretty fair understanding of his life. The problem I have is with the writing. The book would be stellar with a first rate editing job. As it is, the writing is stilted, cliche driven, wordy, an “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” by Les Payne and Tamara Payne is a difficult book to review. The authors deserve high praise for their extensive research; and the information and analysis contained in the book. I knew little about the life of Malcolm X before reading the book and now have a pretty fair understanding of his life. The problem I have is with the writing. The book would be stellar with a first rate editing job. As it is, the writing is stilted, cliche driven, wordy, and repetitive. It was difficult to get through. Given that it recently won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, I was surprised and disappointed. Because this book covers an important historical figure and is an award winner, I would encourage others to read it and make your own judgement.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Researched by an award winning researcher, this book went to many sources to fill out the story of Malcolm X. Barely educated, his mother and father were remarkably responsible for his success. His exposure to Elijah Mohammed, when he was in prison, changed his life. He learned to debate in prison. This skill was important in his recruiting people to the Muslim faith. Malcolm was targeted by the FBI and his former fellow worshippers. He knew his assignation was coming. It happened with his wife a Researched by an award winning researcher, this book went to many sources to fill out the story of Malcolm X. Barely educated, his mother and father were remarkably responsible for his success. His exposure to Elijah Mohammed, when he was in prison, changed his life. He learned to debate in prison. This skill was important in his recruiting people to the Muslim faith. Malcolm was targeted by the FBI and his former fellow worshippers. He knew his assignation was coming. It happened with his wife and four little girls watching. I learned a lot about this remarkable man. This book won the 2020 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A very well researched look at Malcolm X's life, gathered from interviews, firsthand accounts, and official records. The book was written by an investigative journalist, and those style elements prevail in the biography. Payne places Malcolm's story in the context of the early civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr, the KKK, the FBI, the Black Muslim church, and the general sociopolitical times of the mid 1900s. See my review over at AudioFile magazine for details on the Dion Graham's perf A very well researched look at Malcolm X's life, gathered from interviews, firsthand accounts, and official records. The book was written by an investigative journalist, and those style elements prevail in the biography. Payne places Malcolm's story in the context of the early civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr, the KKK, the FBI, the Black Muslim church, and the general sociopolitical times of the mid 1900s. See my review over at AudioFile magazine for details on the Dion Graham's performance of this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex Dibona

    The author spend decades interviewing or trying to interview every person, from close associates to arresting cops to teachers whoever met Malcom X. This book is an incredible piece of scholarship that amazing has alot of new information. The descriptions of the interactions between the Nation of Islam and the KKK and the near minute by minute recounting of the night of the assassination are highlight of the reporting. This book can serve both as an introduction to Malcom X and a valuable review The author spend decades interviewing or trying to interview every person, from close associates to arresting cops to teachers whoever met Malcom X. This book is an incredible piece of scholarship that amazing has alot of new information. The descriptions of the interactions between the Nation of Islam and the KKK and the near minute by minute recounting of the night of the assassination are highlight of the reporting. This book can serve both as an introduction to Malcom X and a valuable review for the more knowledgeable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    A 30-year project by author Les Payne, completed after his death by his daughter. I read Malcom X’s autobiography many years ago – so long that I couldn’t make comparisons as to any differences, aside from, obviously, the events that took place after his death. I am definitely more aware now of how much he did to promote demands for racial equality. I’m also blown away that after his death his widow, Betty, obtained bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees while raising their six daughters on her A 30-year project by author Les Payne, completed after his death by his daughter. I read Malcom X’s autobiography many years ago – so long that I couldn’t make comparisons as to any differences, aside from, obviously, the events that took place after his death. I am definitely more aware now of how much he did to promote demands for racial equality. I’m also blown away that after his death his widow, Betty, obtained bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees while raising their six daughters on her own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Scherer

    What a fascinating and powerful individual, filled w/ contradictions, and in the end, great promise. Years ago, I read the Autobiography. I really liked how the Paynes have skillfully researched his family, provided greater context about the Nation of Islam and Malcolm's background, and illustrated his foibles, as well as his potential. A worthy biography about an amazing American. What a fascinating and powerful individual, filled w/ contradictions, and in the end, great promise. Years ago, I read the Autobiography. I really liked how the Paynes have skillfully researched his family, provided greater context about the Nation of Islam and Malcolm's background, and illustrated his foibles, as well as his potential. A worthy biography about an amazing American.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    The Autobiography of Malcom X made a big impression on me as a college student. It remains an enduring classic. This new biography does something very different, which is to massively contextualize the entirety of Malcolm X's life from the earliest moments of childhood to his final breaths. Honestly, it is more than I wanted to know, but certainly a significant achievement. The Autobiography of Malcom X made a big impression on me as a college student. It remains an enduring classic. This new biography does something very different, which is to massively contextualize the entirety of Malcolm X's life from the earliest moments of childhood to his final breaths. Honestly, it is more than I wanted to know, but certainly a significant achievement.

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