MALCOLM X by Michael Friedly


The Assassination
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 One of three Malcolm X books (so far) set to appear along with Spike Lee's epic film. Of the three, this one by Friedly (a researcher at Stanford's Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project) has the most electric moments--although Friedly's dramatic passages largely echo research done by Peter Goldman for The Death and Life of Malcolm X (1972). Friedly tries to nail down the assassination and who did it, in a work that's nicely organized to reveal the climate of violence and deception in which the assassination took place. The centerpiece here is the confession, with a detailed description of how the assassins were chosen; how they failed at earlier attempts to kill Malcolm X; where their weapons came from; how the assassins preplanned the killing with an unarmed visit to Malcolm X`s N.Y.C. mosque, where they checked out the best seats and escape route; how they gathered on the day of the assassination; and how they did the deed. Once the confession and an account of the jail-time of the confessed assassin and two convicted--though apparently innocent- -men are over, the story turns to reinforcing its theory of the motive, means, and aftermath of the murder. The motive lies in the whirlwind of hatred whipped up by leaders of the Nation of Islam. The actual assassins seem to have been self-chosen to carry out the will of Elijah Muhammad, their Messenger of Allah. Intense moments--and, of the three current books (Karl Evanzz's The Judas Factor, p. 1290; Benjamin Karim's Remembering Malcolm, reviewed below), the most revealing about the killing. (Eight-page photo insert.)

Pub Date: Dec. 29th, 1992
ISBN: 0-88184-922-7
Page count: 240pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1992