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Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
Malcolm X Life of Reinvention.jpg
AuthorManning Marable
CountryUnited States
SubjectMalcolm X
Publication date
April 4, 2011 (hardcover)[1]
December 28, 2011 (paperback)[1]

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is a biography of Malcolm X written by American historian Manning Marable.[2] It won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History.[3] described this as "an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history, a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and tragic."[3] In the book, Marable concludes that Malcolm X exaggerated his early criminal career, and engaged in a homosexual relationship with a white businessman. He also concludes that some of the killers of Malcolm X are still alive and were never charged.[4]


Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention was nominated for the National Book Award,[5] and The New York Times ranked it among the 10 Best Books of 2011.[6] It was one of three nominees for the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction (2012) presented by the American Library Association for the best adult non-fiction.[7] It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2012.[3] As of April 2011 the book had been among the top ten books of the best seller list of According to Viking, the print run had increased to 70,000 from the original 46,000.[8]

Henry Louis Gates Jr., a literary critic, admired the book and said "Manning Marable has written the definitive biography of this outrageously misrepresented figure. He has plumbed countless historical records to bring out what is there, not what is imagined."[9]

Houston A. Baker, Jr., author of the book review "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable" at the African American Review, wrote that the book "also finds itself under excoriating siege from a legion of detractors who count themselves admirers and disciples “connected” with Malcolm X and his “celebrity.”"[10] Karl Evanzz, the author of The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X, referred to Marable's book as an "abomination" and stated that "it is a cavalcade of innuendo and logical fallacy, and is largely reinvented from previous works on the subject".[9] An online magazine, The Root, declined to publish Evanzz's review. Gates, the editor in chief of The Root, said that he had no role in the rejection of Evanzz's review.[9] David Montgomery of the Washington Post stated that "most reviews have been far more positive than Evanzz’s."[9]

Author and journalist Herb Boyd stated he found as many as 25 significant errors in the book, some of which he described as "absolutely egregious".[12]

Marable's account has also been challenged in Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs' book A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X. Ball has stated that Marable's book “is a corporate product, a simple commodity to be traded, but for more than money; it is a carefully constructed ideological assault on history, on radical politics, on historical and cultural memory, on the very idea of revolution.”[13]

University of Chicago professor Michael Dawson defended Marable's biography, stating Marable had "precisely focused on some of the critical central questions confronting black and progressive politics."[14]

Linwood X Cathcart, a former Nation of Islam minister, started a $50 million lawsuit against Marable's estate, Columbia University, and Viking Press, as a result of Marable's suggestions that Cathcart was involved in Malcolm X's murder. In the book Marable misspelled his name "Linward".[15]

Ilyasah and Malaak Shabazz, daughters of Malcolm X, criticized the book's argument that there was possible infidelity and strain in the marriage between Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz; Ilyasah said that the marriage "was definitely faithful and devoted because my father was a man of impeccable integrity, and I think that most people, if they're not clear on anything, they're clear that he was moral and ethical and had impeccable character."[8][16] In response to criticisms, Boyce Watkins wrote in The Tennessee Tribune that "the fact that a person is your greatest hero does not mean they cannot be critiqued" and regarding the criticism from Malcolm X's daughters he wrote that their response "is natural, given that every little girl in America wants to believe that her daddy can do no wrong."[16]


The book was published in hardcover, paperback, audiobook and various ebook formats.[17]

Television series

In August 2017, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood reported that the independent studio Critical Content was developing a television series based on Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention with writer David Matthews. Professor Leith Mullings, the wife of Manning Marable, who wrote Malcolm X, was among those identified as consultants to the project.[18][19]



  1. ^ a b "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Michiko Kakutani (April 7, 2011). "Peeling Away Multiple Masks". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners: History". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  4. ^ Manning Marable's 'Reinvention' Of Malcolm X, All Things Considered, National Public Radio (NPR). April 5, 2011. Retrieved on July 20, 2013.
  5. ^ "2011 National Book Award Finalist, Nonfiction". National Book Foundation. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "10 Best Books of 2011". The New York Times. November 30, 2011.
  7. ^ Neal Wyatt (May 21, 2012). "Wyatt's World: The Carnegie Medals Short List". Library Journal. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Malcolm X's daughters unhappy with new book." (Archive) Associated Press at KFSN-TV. Wednesday April 6, 2011. Retrieved on July 20, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d Montgomery, David (April 14, 2011). "Negative review of Malcolm X bio is rejected". Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  10. ^ Baker, p. 239
  11. ^ "By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X -- Real, Not Reinvented". C-SPAN. March 16, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2016. Herb Boyd delivers a response to the late Manning Marable's biography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, which was published in 2011 and nominated for the National Book Award in non-fiction. Mr. Boyd presents the collected thoughts of over thirty African-American scholars, who examine Mr. Marable's depiction of Malcolm X. Herb Boyd responded to questions from members of the audience at the Brecht Forum in New York City.
  12. ^ "Manning Marable's Controversial New Biography Refuels Debate on Life and Legacy of Malcolm X". Democracy Now!. May 19, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
  13. ^ "Attempted ivory tower assassination of Malcolm X: an interview wit’ Jared Ball, editor of ‘A Lie of Re-Invention’" SF Bayview: National Black Newspaper, (10-21-2012):
  14. ^ Dawson, Michael. "Marable's Malcolm X Book Puts Icon in Context". The Slate Group. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  15. ^ Morrow, John Andrew (University of Virginia). "The second assassination of Malcolm X: a critical review of Manning Marable's biography." Journal of Pan African Studies. 5.1 (Mar. 2012): p. 217. Available at Academic OneFile InfoTrac, Gale Group. Document number GALE|A306514672. Also available at Questia.
  16. ^ a b Watkins, Boyce. "Malcolm X Book By Marable Disappoints Malcolm's Daughters..." The Tennessee Tribune (ISSN 1067-5280) (the first paragraph stated "" at the top of the article). April 14, 2011. p. 5A. Available on ProQuest, Document ID 867781131.
  17. ^ "Malcolm X (official publisher's book page)". Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  18. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (August 22, 2017). "Malcolm X Scripted TV Series in the Works". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  19. ^ Petski, Denise (August 2, 2017). "'Malcolm X' Series Based On Manning Marable's Biography In Works By Critical Content". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 25, 2017.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 20 December 2020, at 12:13
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