Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Book Review

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Book Review

Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, New York City: Penguin Group, 2011. Pp. 608.

Word Count: 1169

Sean Tracey
Dr. McDonald

Introduction: Author, Sources, Short Summary

William Manning Marable is the author of Malcolm X: A life of Reinvention. He was an American professor of public affairs, history and African-American Studies at Columbia University and the director of its Center for Contemporary Black History. Marable authored several texts regarding African-American history covering topics such as how capitalism underdeveloped black Americans and biographies on other important historical black men such as W. E. B. DuBois. At the time of his death, Marable had just recently completed this Malcolm X biography. For this book, although it was after his death, he received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History. The book draws from diaries, letters, F.B.I. files, Web resources and interviews with members of Malcolm X’s inner circle.
At the beginning of the book, Manning Marable begins by stating that Malcolm X is the most important black figure of the 20th century. He is honest about his designs and does inform the reader when he believes that a particular matter is disputed or unknown by prefacing it with, “It may be the case,” or “what appears to have occurred.” In matters where he believes the assertion to be fact, he will quote a number of sources, in private and public interviews made by himself or located in other texts and then give his final historical position on the matter. Although one may agree with his positions, what is just and fair-minded is that he balances them with evidence and states when they are merely his personal assumptions.
A Brilliant Series of Reinventions. Manning Marable vividly chronicles the many incarnations of his subject Malcolm X, describing the “multiple masks” he donned over the...

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