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Peter

New York, New York, United States

6
HELPFUL VOTES
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  • 286 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2014
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  • Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Manning Marable
    • Narrated By G. Valmont Thomas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (175)

    Of the great figure in 20th-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age 39. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man.

    connie says: "invites further reading on Malcolm X"
    "Good book, bad reader"
    Overall

    This book is a comprehensive and good biography of Malcolm X. It's not perfect, but it's worth reading. Anyone who read the Autobiography should read this as a valuable complement--and anyone who hasn't read the Autobiography should read that first. The subject material is so fascinating, and Marable's research so thorough, that it's an interesting and important book. Unfortunately, maybe only because Haley/Malcolm embellished the Autobiography so much, Marable's book is incredibly boring compared to that one. Either Malcolm didn't actually live the life described in the Autobiography, or Marable managed to make a colorful life much more boring than it was. I suspect some of both.

    Unfortunately, G. Valmont Thomas is a very bad reader. Here are my complaints, and you can figure out for yourself whether you think these things will bother you when listening:

    1. Every quote is in a character voice, which are mostly regional/ethnic/gender clich├ęs and just weaken the quotes, rather than help readers understand the people saying them. Some of the accents are really bad.
    2. Every date is read as "April three" instead of "April third." Since I've never heard anyone say this in real life, it was off-putting every single time a date came up in the text (which was often).
    3. Thomas clearly didn't do research into how to pronounce names of people or places he wasn't familiar with. Two mispronunciations that I remember are Amherst, Massachusetts ("Am-herst," according to Thomas), and Ayman al-Zawahiri (just pitifully butchered). There were others too.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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