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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, this is the most comprehensive book ever written about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. David J. Garrow had unrestricted access to Martin Luther King's personal papers, to thousands of pages of newly released FBI documents and more than 700 interviews with King's closest friends and enemies. Garrow traces King's transformation from the young pastor of a modest church into the foremost spokesperson of the civil rights movement. The book's unifying theme is King's growing awareness of the symbolic meaning of the cross as his sense of mission deepened and matured into acceptance of a life that would end by demanding the ultimate sacrifice. This is a powerful portrait of a man at the epicenter of one of the most dramatic periods in our history.
©1986 David J. Garrow (P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Provocative...a complex and convincing portrait." (Time)
" of the most valuable sources of contemporary history." (The Sunday Boston Globe)
"Mr. Garrow has provided the fundament of fact on which future King biographies must rest....Likely to remain for a long time the most informative life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the most thorough study of the civil rights movement." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Absorbing...Garrow aimed simply to write the definitive chronicle of King's life during the period of his public eminence, and he has performed the task with skill and integrity." (Times Literary Supplement)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Thomas on 04-29-10

great but long

First, I would say the author clearly has some incredible writing skills. The way he draws the readers in in the first few chapters is masterful. I thought that was some of the most gripping writing I have read in a long while. Likewise the end of the moving is incredibly moving given the foreboading and irony that permeates what you know will happen. There are sections in the middle that are likewise masterfully written.
I have listened to several audiobooks that were much longer than this one, but there are sections in the middle where you can find yourself zoning out for 10 min and feeling like you did not miss very much. The book is a day by day, week by week, sometimes feels like minute by minute account of MLK's life from 1955 to 1968, and it is completely linear, chronologic review of his life. Sometimes it just feels like it is one talk, one march, one act of civil disobedience after anohter. Again most of it is great, but maybe there were times when your attention is not rivetted, and the author clearly has the capability to draw you in tightly in other parts.
The narration was very good except the reader takes pauses, sometimes in mid sentence, and a few times i kept thinking my ipod broke, but then he just starts right back up again. pretty weird.
Overall very very good, definitley worth reading, but a little dry at times in the middle.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Sam Motes on 09-20-13

The flesh and blood man not the saint

An unflinching look at the life of man who embraced his destiny and lead his people through very turbulent times during their fight for dignity and respect. Garrow's work is very detailed and almost feels like a minute by minute account of the events of Martin Luther King Jr and the SCLC. The book did a great job of pointing out not only his strengths and courage but also his flaws as a man susceptible to the failings of the flesh. The epilogue points out that when we idolize our hero’s we make their accomplishments seem super human and far beyond the abilities of mere mortals but Garrow definitely doesn't fall into the trap. I also like the face that King's assassin only got 6 minutes at the end of the book to document his dark deed and Garrow didn't even defile his work with his name. Leave that to other works that focus on that tragic act. Garrow focuses on King's life and the accomplishments of the SCLC.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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