The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

WINNER — 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION – TIME Magazine — 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2020 – A New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and Editors’ Choice Selection – Washington Post — 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2020 – Excerpted in The New Yorker – Longlisted — Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction – Best Books of 2020 — Chicago Public Library – Best Books of Fall 2020 — O, the Oprah Magazine, The Week, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author’s interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative.

Pulitzer winner Les Payne (1941-2018) spent nearly 30 years researching and writing this monumental biography of human rights activist Malcolm X. Completed by his daughter and researcher, Payne’s richly detailed account is based on hundreds of interviews with Malcolm X’s family members, childhood friends, cellmates, allies, and enemies, and meticulously tracks his journey from Omaha, Neb., where he was born Malcolm Little in 1925, through his teenage pot dealing in East Lansing, Mich., and street criminal days in Boston and Harlem, to his emergence as the Nation of Islam’s “most gifted and successful proselytizer and demander of justice,” and his assassination in 1965. Along the way, Payne folds in incisive portraits of such major figures as Marcus Garvey, whose teachings on racial uplift Malcolm X’s parents followed; Moorish Science Temple leader Noble Drew Ali, whose follower, Fard Muhammad, founded the Nation of Islam; and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Payne also documents the radio dramas and jazz music Malcolm X listened to, reveals how a clandestine meeting with the Georgia Ku Klux Klan in 1961 contributed to his break from the Nation of Islam, and interviews two men wrongly imprisoned for his murder. The result is an extraordinary and essential portrait of the man behind the icon.–Publishers Weekly, starred review


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