cover image Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America

Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America

Bruce Perry / Author Station Hill Press $24.95 (542p) ISBN 978

Malcolm X's father, self-ordained minister Earl Little, was a wife-abuser; his mother, Louise, tyrannized the family and often beat Malcolm before she was committed to a mental asylum. This loveless home, contends Perry, molded Malcolm (1925-1965) into a street criminal and prostitute. Exhaustively researched, this compelling biography corrects Malcolm's Autobiography at innumerable points as it peels away the black revolutionary's tough-as-steel persona to reveal the hurt, vulnerable man underneath. Perry, who compiled The Last Speeches of Malcolm X , depicts a self-hating, conflicted man who hungered for the approval of the very authority figures he defied. He also maintains that after Malcolm X broke from the Nation of Islam movement, he became a political chameleon, tailoring his rhetoric in order to tell moderates, black revolutionaries and socialists what they wanted to hear. The author rejects the popular theory that either the FBI or New York City police participated in Malcolm's assassination in Harlem by a trio of Black Muslims. This portrait of Malcolm X is the most intimate to date. Photos. (July)