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The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Ballantine Books, 1965)

From hustling, drug addiction and armed violence in America’s black ghettos Malcolm X turned, in a dramatic prison conversion, to the puritanical fervour of the Black Muslims. As their spokesman he became identified in the white press as a terrifying teacher of race hatred; but to his direct audience, the oppressed American blacks, he brought hope and self-respect. This autobiography (written with Alex Haley) reveals his quick-witted integrity, usually obscured by batteries of frenzied headlines, and the fierce idealism which led him to reject both liberal hypocrisies and black racialism. Vilified by his critics as an anti-white demagogue, Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African-Americans, bringing them pride, hope and fearlessness, and remains an inspirational and controversial figure.

Journalist Alex Haley coauthored this autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted with X between 1963 and X’s 1965 assassination. The Autobiography of Malcolm X provided the source material for Spike Lee’s 1992 film Malcolm X.