# The Autobiography of Malcolm X Alex Haley

## Legacy and influence

Eliot Fremont-Smith, reviewing The Autobiography of Malcolm X for The New York Times in 1965, describes it as "extraordinary" and says it is a "brilliant, painful, important book".[69] Two years later, historian John William Ward writes that the book "will surely become one of the classics in American autobiography".[70] Bayard Rustin argues the book suffered from a lack of critical analysis, which he attributes to Malcolm X's expectation that Haley be a "chronicler, not an interpreter."[71] Newsweek also highlights the limited insight and criticism in The Autobiography but praises it for power and poignance.[72] However, Truman Nelson in The Nation lauds the epilogue as revelatory and describes Haley as a "skillful amanuensis".[73] Variety calls it a "mesmerizing page-turner" in 1992,[74] and in 1998, Time names The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of ten "required reading" nonfiction books.[75]

The Autobiography of Malcolm X has influenced generations of readers.[76] In 1990, Charles Solomon writes in the Los Angeles Times, "Unlike many '60s icons, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, with its double message of anger and love, remains an inspiring document."[77] Cultural historian Howard Bruce Franklin describes it as "one of the most influential books in late-twentieth-century American culture",[78] and the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature credits Haley with shaping "what has undoubtedly become the most influential twentieth-century African American autobiography".[79]

bell hooks writes "When I was a young college student in the early seventies, the book I read which revolutionized my thinking about race and politics was The Autobiography of Malcolm X."[80] David Bradley adds:

She [hooks] is not alone. Ask any middle-aged socially conscious intellectual to list the books that influenced his or her youthful thinking, and he or she will most likely mention The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Some will do more than mention it. Some will say that ... they picked it up—by accident, or maybe by assignment, or because a friend pressed it on them—and that they approached the reading of it without great expectations, but somehow that book ... took hold of them. Got inside them. Altered their vision, their outlook, their insight. Changed their lives.[81]

Max Elbaum concurs, writing that "The Autobiography of Malcolm X was without question the single most widely read and influential book among young people of all racial backgrounds who went to their first demonstration sometime between 1965 and 1968."[82]

At the end of his tenure as the first African-American U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder selected The Autobiography of Malcolm X when asked what book he would recommend to a young person coming to Washington, D.C.[83]

### Editions

The book has been published in more than 45 editions and in many languages, including Arabic, German, French, Indonesian. Important editions include:[99]

• X, Malcolm; Haley, Alex (1965). The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1st hardcover ed.). New York: Grove Press. OCLC 219493184.
• X, Malcolm; Haley, Alex (1965). The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1st paperback ed.). Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-17122-7.
• X, Malcolm; Haley, Alex (1973). The Autobiography of Malcolm X (paperback ed.). Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-002824-9.
• X, Malcolm; Haley, Alex (1977). The Autobiography of Malcolm X (mass market paperback ed.). Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-27139-6.
• X, Malcolm; Haley, Alex (1992). The Autobiography of Malcolm X (audio cassettes ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-79366-1.

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