My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As a work of literature published for general consumption, The Black Book is intensely academic almost to its detriment. It is so academic and incisive that I am disappointed that they did not footnote each section with the sourced material so that we can determine how they drew their conclusions as to what Malcolm would do or say. It must be read in the context of Malcolm’s other works lest one fail to understand how nuanced and critical Malcolm was and readily capable of integrating new information to craft a different assessment of the problem and necessary solution.
This is the primary problem with the text. Malcolm was constantly shifting his strategy. Muslim Mosque Inc. I need an irreligious context. OAAU. I need to broaden my capacity to organize against all manner of oppression. UN. Oppression in a world context. This book takes a snapshot of that Malcolm and creates opinions on post-mortem events based upon his pre-mortem positions. It still makes for a good read.
The appendix includes a useful dialogue on autocratic and authoritarian leadership amongst African American organizations and how this loss of democratic context creates a similar dissatisfaction to irresponsible authoritarian leadership in Africa and causes the people to eventually gravitate away from these organizations. There is a large section at the beginning of the book on the Islamic concept of jihad attempting to discern if Malcolm’s revolutionary stance constituted such a thing. I found it largely unnecessary towards comprehending the broader concept of Malcolm’s philosophy throughout the rest of the text. I skipped over it entirely.