Item #39739 From Michael de Freitas to Michael X. Michael Abdul MALIK.
From Michael de Freitas to Michael X.
From Michael de Freitas to Michael X.


From Michael de Freitas to Michael X.

London: André Deutsch, 1968. First edition. 8vo. Red boards. 207pp. Dw. photographs of Michael Abdul Malik by Horace Ové.

Presentation copy, SIGNED and inscribed to Bill Levy in purple ink dated November 6, 1968: “Bill Levy, a friend, so that we may remember the unwritten chapters and the many happy days. Michael Abdul Malik”. A superb association copy, since Levy actively championed Malik’s many ideas and projects, published his writings in International Times and supported the international campaign to save him from the death penalty.

The book, an interview-based bildungsroman ghostwritten by British civil servant John Stevenson, aka Marcus van Heller, erstwhile Olympia Press author and business manager for Alexander Trocchi's Merlin magazine, had a lengthy and difficult gestation. Throughout the project relations between Michael and André Deutsch, in particular the publisher’s chief editor Diana Athill, were problematic, the latter stating in her account of her relationship with Hakim Jamal, later an associate of Michael X, that she “disliked him” (item #69).

The book was eventually published in Spring 1968, but since Malik was in prison it received little publicity and, apart from Colin MacInnes in the New Statesman, few positive reviews (in The Times Dilip Hiro wrote: “On the whole Michael emerges as a guy who had a ball and most of the time on white people’s money and indulgence.”) Frustrated by poor sales, Malik persuaded his benefactor Nigel Samuel to purchase the unsold stock from the publisher, signing them all with the idea of selling copies for £5 each. If so, since this was four times the original price, it seems unlikely that there would have been many takers, and the rarity of signed and presentation copies would seem to bear this out.

Edges lightly soiled; faint coffee stain at head of chapter 11; o/w Very Good in slightly age-toned and edge-worn dw.