Death of a King

  • by Tavis Smiley, David Ritz
  • Narrated by Tavis Smiley
  • 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A revealing and dramatic chronicle of the 12 months leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.
Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times best-selling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations - denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few - all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.
Smiley's Death of a King paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life - one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.

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What the Critics Say

"Death of a King is a fitting climax to a noble saga. It is here adequately told and placed before history." (Reverend Gardner C. Taylor)
"Tavis Smiley has captured not only the spirit of the movement, but the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last days. We didn't realize it but he knew he was on his way to Jerusalem, and as much as we tried to deter him, he fought back." (Andrew Young, United States ambassador to the United Nations and former mayor of Atlanta)
"One of the most important political voices of his generation." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An important book

What made the experience of listening to Death of a King the most enjoyable?

This is a fascinating piece of history, read with simple conviction by the author. I could not imagine a different narrator.


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- Piotr

Sad but compelling....

The last year of King's life was overfull of hard times....both enemies and friends criticized him relentlessly. He began his campaign against the war in Vietnam, and the president who had helped Blacks gain civil rights was astounded because suddenly King was opposing him. So he fought back. And many of King's supporters and friends were adamantly opposed to King dividing his focus by taking on the war while still seeking equality for Blacks. King was under constant stress...at times he wept...at times he thought of quitting his work at the national level and retiring to a little church in the South, or even accepting an invitation to a church in the UK. Thoughts of death as well as threats of death were constantly with him. The story of his last year is one of a man pushing the boulder up the hill and suffering for every inch. It is a sad story, but it is a compelling story. Maybe we all need to know the story in order to fully honor King. The book is read by the author and he does an excellent job.
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- Doug "Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio