New York Times, December 10, 2015
Review: In ‘Alex Haley: And the Books That Changed a Nation,’ a Reputation Made and Lost
by Dwight Garner
December 10, 2015
Alex Haley wrote “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” (1965), in collaboration with its subject, and “Roots: The Saga of a Family” (1976), two of the most important books by an African-American in the second half of the 20th century.
Each sold more than six million copies. Each had a profound impact on black identity in America. Each was billed as nonfiction but, crucially, only the Malcolm X book should have been so designated. Therein lies the painful story of a literary reputation made and lost, one that is told simply and well in Robert J. Norrell’s “Alex Haley: And the Books That Changed a Nation.”
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