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Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation Hardcover – Jan 4 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Hardcover, Jan 4 2011
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (Jan. 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230103685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230103689
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.4 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #606,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A revealing insider's account of how King improvised parts of his 'I Have a Dream' speech at 1963's March on Washington.” ―USA TODAY

“Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the course of American history by challenging – and inspiring – the country to confront injustice and live up to our founding ideals. The words he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 will forever be immortalized for their beauty and power, and they will forever echo in the soul of American life. Jones and Connelly capture the fascinating story behind this historic moment, shedding new light on a speech that ushered in a new dawn for the nation.” ―Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“The author provides numerous intriguing insider insights about life on the road with King. . . . Essential reading about a moment of surpassing political and moral importance.” ―Kirkus [starred review]

“The words of Dr. King live on as a gift to our country. As someone who stood beside him during those years, Clarence B Jones puts them in context and brings the stories around them to life. He and Stuart Connelly take us inside the greatest moments of the American civil rights movement and behind the scenes of a speech that awakened our collective conscience” ―Soledad O'Brien

“America would be a very different place if it weren't for the hard work of men like Clarence Jones. Different -- and vastly less just. Behind the Dream takes us behind the scenes of Dr. King's historic ‘I Have a Dream' speech, which Jones helped write. It's a story that is as remarkable as it is inspiring.” ―Arianna Huffington

“The words 'I Have a Dream' are as applicable today as they were all those years ago. Behind The Dream provides a beautiful glimpse at the origins of an enduring work. Clarence B. Jones illuminates the history in a way no one else could. To learn the story of the speech's creation from the man who was there is to appreciate Martin's genius all the more.” ―Betty Williams,Nobel Peace Laureate, President and Founder, World Centers of Compassion for Children International.

“What elevates this book above most scholarly tomes is its rare and invaluable insider's insight into not only the happenings of the day but also the people involved.” ―Irish Examiner

“The book is wonderful, and rewarding for students of public speaking as well as of the civil rights era. Jones is particularly skilled at giving us the contingent nature of events as the happen, and that is a great gift to anyone who wants to understand where we've really come from. Highly recommended.” ―Nick Morgan,

About the Author

Clarence B. Jones served as speechwriter and counsel to Martin Luther King, Jr. and is currently a scholar-in-residence and visiting professor at Stanford University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute. Selected by Time magazine in 1972 as one of "The 100 Future Leaders of America," and twice recognized in Fortune magazine as "A Businessman of the Month," Jones has received numerous state and national awards recognizing his significant contributions to American society. He lives in Palo Alto, CA.

Stuart Connelly is an author and filmmaker. He is a recent National Educational Press Association Award winner and blogs for The Huffington Post. He divides his time between rural Pennsylvania and New York.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An interesting look at the days leading up to Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have A Dream speech. The first three-quarters of the book focuses exclusively on the speech, while the final chapter is more an analysis of current racial politics in the United States of America, especially on the idea of the (fictitious) post-racial society that has come about through the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America.

This final chapter is somewhat inelegantly placed in contrast to the earlier ones. The initial chapters read more like a memoir while the final one a rhetorical essay. It almost seems as if the authors realised that the book would be too short if it just focused on King Jr.'s speech, so they put another chapter at the end. Strangely in the last chapter, the authors discuss how much more powerful the March on Washington would have been if they had the social networking resources available today, then lament the lack of activism today, ignoring the wide variety of websites which discuss eloquently the role of race in America, such as Racialicious, Colorlines, and Womanist Musings, to name a few. They also seem to suggest that wide-spread non-violent protest is no longer a priority - which as we have seen with the number of hoodie marches to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin, is simply not the case.

In the end, I wished that either there was more analysis in the initial chapters to flesh out the book and that the final chapter be split off and elaborated upon to a book of its own. But still, an important read for anyone who is interested in race in America.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9a9c3404) out of 5 stars 29 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99e9adec) out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, powerful book Jan. 20 2011
By Bartleby - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was impressed with this behind-the-scenes look at MLK Jr's famous speech. It's a short-but-sweet, powerful book with some fine writing. Good buy for schools, libraries or any American history buff.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac82f78) out of 5 stars A Dream Shared Jan. 22 2011
By Eddie Hutchinson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Clarence B. Jones, attorney and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shares his memories and thoughts of that historic point in time: the March on Washington and King's `I Have a Dream' speech.

I believe many of us can articulate what transpired that day if not from memory, from history lessons and books. However, only a select few, those in King's inner circle, like Jones, can truly provide that rare glimpse into what transpired in the days leading up to, during and after the March on Washington.

In Behind the Dream we learn of the secluded haven procured for King to allow him to focus and prepare for the March, the collaborative efforts (of sorts) in creating the I Have a Dream speech, the influence of A. Philip Randolph, the last minute copyright efforts and much more.

The book's title couldn't be more apropos.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99f54648) out of 5 stars The man behind the dream! Jan. 9 2011
By PDoherty - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This very interesting book chronicles the days and weeks leading up to the moment when Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech. Amazing that it took fifty years for the story behind the speech to get out. Both inspiring and eye opening.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99e947e0) out of 5 stars Found the book enjoyable and insightful Feb. 21 2011
By Craig Mohre - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I just finished the book this weekend. One of the aspects I appreciated is the humbleness with which Clarence Jones describes the events and his role. Clearly, he was part of Dr. King's inner circle and a key contributor, but he does not take credit for the most moving portion of the speech. Instead, he credits Mahalia Jackson for recommending to Dr. King to "share the dream" and Dr. King's genius and unique abilities to deliver the message. Jones' humble, yet realistic approach, lends credibility to other important observations in the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99fed5c4) out of 5 stars powerful book Feb. 20 2011
Format: Hardcover
i have a dream is the most important speech ever written by a human being, because in America it said that i will be Somebody, i am somebody and we are all somebody can i get a AMEN! the writers do a great job putting things together and it is very detail must have historical book. it is a must have and read. a great tribute.