cover image Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary

Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary

Walter Dean Myers. Scholastic, $13.95 (210pp) ISBN 978-0-590-46484-0

In his preface, Newbery Honor book author Myers ( Scorpions ; Fallen Angels ) notes that Malcolm X's pivotal impact on the civil rights movement of the '60s was the result of his distinctive, dramatic approach: ``It was Malcolm's anger, his biting wit, his dedication, that put the hard edge on the movement, that provided the other side of the sword, not the handle of acceptance and nonviolence, but the blade.'' Appropriately, it is with incisive, precise prose that the author chronicles the labyrinthine path of Malcolm's life, from his 1925 birth in Omaha to his assassination in Harlem 40 years later. Seamlessly fusing historical notes on the era with the activist's story, Myers tells of Malcolm's childhood, which was greatly influenced by his father, a disciple of Marcus Garvey; his life as a youth on the streets of Harlem and Boston, where he was convicted of burglary; his self-education while imprisoned for more than six years; his crucial role in and eventual split from the Nation of Islam; and his pilgrimage to Mecca, which inspired his Organization of Afro-American Unity, established ``to unify Africans on an international basis.'' The inclusion of quotations from Malcolm X's eloquent autobiography brings an added dimension to Myers's account and successfully rounds out this carefully researched portrait of a deeply devoted individual. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)