The Dead Are Arising
Les Payne, Tamara Payne
**WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD (Nonfiction)**
New Books to Watch Out for in October, New York Times
Best New Books to Read in October, TIME
Best Books of Fall 2020, O, the Oprah Magazine
A landmark biography of one of the twentieth century’s most compelling figures, rewriting much of the known narrative.
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 – including siblings, classmates, friends, cellmates, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become hundreds of hours of interviews into a portrait that would separate fact from fiction.
The result is this magisterial work that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his followers stir with purpose to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting his life not only within the political struggles of his day but also against the larger backdrop of American history, this remarkable masterpiece traces his path from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.
An author who saw Malcolm X speak and could not stand the phrase ‘we may never know’, Payne writes cinematically from start to finish and delivers extraordinary revelations – from a hair-raising scene of Malcolm’s clandestine meeting with the KKK, to a minute-by-minute account of his murder in Harlem in 1965, in which he makes the case for the complicity of the American government.
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 and the story of the twentieth century.
'Les Payne was one of the most distinguished journalists of our time. Here, after thirty years of research and collecting and by interviewing Malcolm X's family as well as many others, we have the most lyrical and complete biography of this uniquely brilliant American ever written. This book is a great read, full of original insights about an elusive figure rendered deeply human -- David Blight, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Frederick Douglass Comprehensive, timely life of the renowned activist and his circuitous rise to prominence. . . . Payne delivers considerable news not just in recounting unknown episodes of Malcolm's early years, but also in reconstructing events during his time as a devotee of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad . . . Payne's accounts of the consequences that rupture and Malcolm's assassination at the hands of a 'goon squad' with ties to the FBI and CIA are eye-opening, and they add a new dimension to our understanding of Malcolm X's last years. . . . A superb biography and an essential addition to the library of African American political engagement -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review No one who wishes to reckon with the life of this man, one of the most important African American figures of the twentieth century can afford to forgo this account -- Howard W. French, Columbia University Payne's storytelling weave[s] an epic tale of Malcolm's exuberant life, his tragic death, and the Phoenix-like legacy -- Farah Jasmine Griffin, author of Harlem Nocturne Les Payne has written a biography of this African American icon that sets a new standard for investigative journalism -- DeWayne Wickham, founding dean of Morgan State University's School of Global Journalism & Communication The Dead Are Arising. . . will become the definitive biography of Malcolm X -- Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State Meticulously researched and masterfully reported, this chronicle offers fresh insights and disturbing revelations that, among other things, strengthen the case for government complicity in the murder of Malcolm X. . . . A gripping read . . . [and] a worthy companion to Malcolm's famed autobiography -- Nathan McCall, author of Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America In a time of breezy, green-room infotainment, Les Payne restores the art of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism. Malcolm X was one of the most fascinating and charismatic figures of the twentieth century, but like many icons,he was not without flaws. Payne exposes some of the major ones made under the influence of Elijah Muhammad whom Malcolm treated as one would a god. Payne charts Malcolm's disillusionment with his mentor, and the tensions between two egged on by J.Edgar Hoover. Payne's detailed account of Malcolm's negotiations with the Klan alone has mini-series possibilities. The Dead Are Arising is superior to the other Malcolm books, including the autobiography, which Malcolm despised -- Ishmael Reed, author of Mumbo Jumbo Les Payne's The Dead Are Rising is a brilliant and indispensable depiction of the life of Malcolm X. Payne, one of America's most acclaimed journalists is at the very top of his game in these pages; using the fruits of decades of interviews to bring new information and perspectives on one of the most fascinating, and often misunderstood, figures in American history -- David Blight, Sterling Professor, Yale University, and author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom The result of nearly three decades of investigative reporting, The Dead Are Arising is an essential new biography of one of the most compelling political figures of the twentieth century -- Jill Lepore, author of These Truths A brilliant and indispensable depiction of the life of Malcolm X. . . . Using the fruits of decades of interviews, [Payne] brings new information and perspectives on one of the most fascinating, and often misunderstood, figures in American history -- Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
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