Malcolm redux

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, co-authored with Alex Haley, was a great book that aimed articulated anger like a shotgun blast at ’60s racial stereotypes. It showed how Malcolm X—born Malcolm Little—went from streetwise robber and pimp to an influential Muslim minister and world figure. It’s become a classic, but Manning Marable’s new biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Invention, is even better. Way better, and headed for the classics shelf, too. Recently released FBI files allow the recently deceased Marable to tell the story of how this incredible but conflicted man was constantly transforming and reinventing himself. The real Malcolm is far more interesting than Malcolm X and Haley’s Malcolm X. Marable also captures an America of the ’50s and ’60s that was transforming itself. The audio version is read by actor G. Valmont Thomas, a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival company, and is superbly done.