The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback – Jan 1 2001
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Celebrated Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson is the director and editor of the Martin Luther King Papers Project; with thousands of King's essays, notes, letters, speeches, and sermons at his disposal, Carson has organized King's writings into a posthumous autobiography. In an early student essay, King prophetically penned: "We cannot have an enlightened democracy with one great group living in ignorance.... We cannot have a nation orderly and sound with one group so ground down and thwarted that it is almost forced into unsocial attitudes and crime." Such statements, made throughout King's career, are skillfully woven together into a coherent narrative of the quest for social justice. The autobiography delves, for example, into the philosophical training King received at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University, where he consolidated the teachings of Afro-American theologian Benjamin Mays with the philosophies of Locke, Rousseau, Gandhi, and Thoreau. Through King's voice, the reader intimately shares in his trials and triumphs, including the Montgomery Boycott, the 1963 "I Have a Dream Speech," the Selma March, and the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. In one of his last speeches, King reminded his audience that "in the final analysis, God does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives." Carson's skillful editing has created an original argument in King's favor that draws directly from the source, illuminating the circumstances of King's life without deifying his person. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project and author of A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., has pieced together an incomplete study of King's life by supplementing his extant autobiographies (e.g., Stride Toward Freedom and Where Do We Go from Here) with previously unpublished and published writings, interviews and speeches. If King's rhetorical flourishes and use of the word "negro" sometimes seem outdated, the compilation still offers a concise first-person account of his life from his birth in Atlanta in 1929 to his awakening social consciousness and discovery of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. History propelled King to center stage in the struggle for black liberation. When Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat in 1955, the "once dormant and quiescent Negro community was now fully awake" and King, along with many others in Montgomery's black community, organized the bus boycott that would launch King into his leadership role in the civil rights movement. The book offers glimpses of King's family life as well a view of famous Americans such as Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and JFK. (In 1960, King did not feel "there was much difference between Kennedy and Nixon." He writes, "I felt at points that he was so concerned about being President of the United States that he would compromise basic principles.") But what is most evident throughout Carson's study is the moral courage that sustained King and allowed him to inspire a largely peaceful mass movement against segregation in the face of bloody reprisals. (Dec.) FYI: In November, Carol Publishing will release Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X, by his nephew Rodnell P. Collins. ($21.95 230p ISBN 1-55972-491-9)
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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I was born in the late twenties on the verge of the Great Depression, which was to spread its disastrous arms into every corner of this nation for over a decade. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews
Carson, author and editor of many books relating to the Civil Rights struggle, edited a collection of King's speeches entitled 'A Knock at Midnight', and was selected by the King estate to put together this in conjunction with (according to Carson) dozens of staff and student workers forming part of the King Papers Project. Carson used particular methodology consistently in his reconstruction - that of relying primarily on the words of King himself (utilising early drafts of later writings to discern the difference between authorial and editorial intentions) and developing them as if this overall narrative account was constructed near the end of King's life.
King's autobiography begins at the beginning, with is childhood as a preacher's kid (who was himself a preacher's kid, who was himself a preacher's kid, etc.). King said, 'of course I was religious.... I didn't have much choice.' King explains the different strands in his life, that of being both militant and moderate, idealistic and realistic, as beginning here.Read more ›
Let me first say, that I too am glad that Dr. King did not sneeze. That would have been a loss of an unimaginable magnitude.
The other reviewers of this book are on target. This is an extraordinary piece of literature that should be a must read for all students. I was midway through my seventh year when Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis. And although I remember the event it did not resonate fully with me until last year when I took a master's level Civil Rights course. Throughout my own formative years of primary, secondary, and post-secondary liberal arts education, none of my history or social studies courses concentrated on this era of American History. This is a sad commentary and an oversight that needs to change.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great man in American History and must be given the credit deserving of his greatness - the book, as articulated by the other reviewers, provides a comprehensive look into that greatness. It is my opinion that God was truly with this man as he undertook his overwhelming mission to obtain freedom and equality for a people so maligned by the majority.
This book was so well-written that I even read the Editor's Acknowledgements. It is so well-written that one can easily become lost in time and simply continue to read chapter after chapter. I could go on, but will stop. I wish to thank Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her undying devotion to her husband and his work; to console her for her unfathomable loss thirty-five years ago, and for not only reviewing this book for accuracy before publication, but also to permit its publication so that Americans from all backgrounds may appreciate and learn.
This is an outstanding biography and it accounts for the full story of Dr. King, literally from cradle to grave. Martin Luther King Jr. at university, when he met his wife Coretta, their children being born, the movement begins, fights and struggles, getting arrested etc. etc. Carson does an absolutely amazing job transporting the reader into Dr. King's thoughts, ideas and feelings. I have only read a couple of other biographies that I rank as high as I rank this one. The other two are Che Guevara and Malcolm X's biographies.
Few people are given strength, means and opportunity to make a real and great impact in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only given such opportunity; he seized upon his opportunity as well. His fights and sacrifices made life better not only for millions of black people in America - his fight made the world a better place to be for all of us.
The author uses Dr. King's letters, college papers, and speeches; such as the "I have a dream" speech from 1963, and the Nobel Peace Prize speech from 1964 when telling his story. I had never read the whole "I have a dream" speech, so I greatly enjoyed that.
Carson has done a great jobs combining his own research with Dr. King's own speeches and writings and this is all masterfully woven together into a unique biography. Dr. King had a huge impact on the Civil Right movement, and he made his way into American history as one of its greatest, most charismatic leaders ever.
My recommendation is given for two reasons. Firstly, Dr. King is an extraordinary interesting subject, but also because of Carson's excellent job writing this biography.
Great read - highly recommended!
Most recent customer reviews
Nice overview of a man who made history at a turning point in history. Nice read.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I think everyone knows Rosa Parks caused a huge fuss sitting on the front of the bus but what they don't know are the actual specific goals and achievements of the civil rights... Read morePublished on May 15 2011 by Lindsay6
This book should be must reading (or in my case listening) for all Americans. The threads of a single man's search for freedom for all are woven in a tapestry of the times he lived... Read morePublished on April 28 2004
This is at one level an uplifting autobiography of an extraordinary man but at another level it is a guide to us a people living in a cynical (we call it "realistic") age in which... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2003 by Inna Tysoe
All i have to say is trust this person, they were very nice and sent my book right away. im happy with them.Published on April 23 2003 by Jeremy Brimer
The autobiography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a triumph. Although not an "autobiography" in a strict sense, this book offers a unique glimpse into the life of one of... Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2002 by Bahman Nouri
I think a great attempt at writing MLK's autobiography. Unfortunately, like King's life, there could have been so much more had he lived longer than he did...Published on Feb. 26 2002
King's autobiography was pieced together beautifully and fluidly, allowing readers to tangibly probe the brilliant, analytic, compassionate, and clever mind of a man whose valor on... Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2002 by Steven Knauss
Dr. King has become such an American icon that it's easy to forget what a brilliant, passionate man he was. This "autobiography" will remind you. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2001 by Richard E. Hourula
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