Consider how deeply entrenched most adults are in their political and religious beliefs. Yes, one builds upon their views as they learn and experience more, but radical transformations - from a strong conservative stance to a liberal mindset, or from devout Christian to diehard atheist - are rare. It takes a disillusionment resulting from the passage of many years or a profound experience.
Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X, aka El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, born 1925, deceased 1965, lives a short life for all the experiences of this nature that he endures. In itself, the sheer amount of shit that Malcolm Little goes through gives power to the tale, but I find his transformations nothing short of humbling. The great wealth of Malcolm's story stems from the journey of just how it is that one human being completely revolutionizes their world view to reflect new knowledge and truths.
You see, Malcolm has been both demonized as a hatemonger and praised as a champion of peace and brotherhood. The reason for this division is that people remember completely different Malcolms. The Malcolm in his young adult life was a completely different individual than the Malcolm who spoke for the Black Muslims (a militant black supremacist group so far gone that it made skinheads and fundamentalists seem tame), or Malcolm as he was in his final years (a guy who would be totally awesome to meet and talk with).
The book is not really a creative writing endeavor so much as a collection of spoken words interpreted and immortalized. It can become preachy at times, and if you're easily infuriated by a vocalization of radical views then there may be chapters that leave you wanting to hurl this text into the sun. Because of his association as a Black Muslim, it's likely that some have been dissuaded from reading this book because they imagine it must be nothing more than a litany of violent revolution. While there's some of that - because the book goes through all stages of his life - one would be doing themselves a disservice to shy away from this text on that grounds. I found myself inspired, and, frankly, humbled, before the end of this mythic and staggering story.
I would recommend this book to just about anyone, of any creed, affiliation or nationality.
Ardent tabletop role player, disciple of Metal, connoisseur of video games and student of life. I occasionally make my presence in this section of cyberspace meaningful by posting reviews of books, etc. … more
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