The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Review

Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction.

The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.”

In tracing Malcolm X’s life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl’s death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm’s exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary.

With a biographer’s unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations—from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder “Fard Muhammad,” who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz’s 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X’s murder at the Audubon Ballroom.

Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.

Title:The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
Edition Language:English

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    The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Reviews

  • Murtaza

    Like many people around the world, The Autobiography of Malcolm X had a powerful impact on my own life and upbringing. For a certain sort of person, Malcolm X remains something close to a saint. He wa...

  • Kevin Shepherd

    “The French people have placed the negro soldier in France on an equality with the white man, and it has gone to their heads.” ~Woodrow Wilson, 1919Malcolm X was a brilliant, courageous badass who...

  • Ken

    Maybe I'm the last of the Mohicans, but I knew precious little about Malcolm X (beyond hearing of him a lot) and decided to plug the historical gap in my education by reading this book. Exhaustive is ...

  • Ryan Macnair

    This is great companion reading to the Autobiography of Malcolm X. It parses through Malcolm's life using interviews with his siblings as well as many people who knew him personally in order to flesh ...

  • Michelle

    Congratulations!! 🎊 National Book Award Winner!! The Dead Are Arising is the collaborative effort of Les Payne and his daughter Tamara. For the heralded columnist this is his opus, a thirty year...

  • Andre

    Ohhh maaan! Riveting! Updated 11/24. 👉🏿 At the risk of succumbing to recency bias, I am naming this as the best book on Malcolm, biography or otherwise that has ever been written. The Paynes hav...

  • Meike

    Winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction 2020Let's check it out......

  • Barbara Gregorich

    The first chapter of this book begins with two gripping, life-and-death stories. The first is the story of Louise Little standing on the porch of her Omaha home, confronting the Klansmen who came to t...

  • James

    My 4th X bio. This and the marable could not be more different, but both are necessary....

  • Haroon

    I just finished this book and the first thing I want to tell you is to go and buy it as fast as you can. Then read it. ‘The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X’ was started by Les Payne, an aw...