The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.

4.31 (11,239 ratings by Goodreads)
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Compiled from his own words, this history-making autobiography IS Martin Luther King: the mild-mannered, inquisitive child and student who rebelled against segregation; the dedicated young minister who constantly questioned the depths of his faith and the limits of his wisdom; the loving husband and father who sought to balance his family's needs with those of a growing nationwide movement; and the reflective, world-famous leader who was fired by a vision of equality for people everywhere. Relevant and insightful, this Autobiography offers King's seldom discussed views on some of the world's greatest and most controversial figures including John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Mahatma Gandhi and Richard Nixon. This book brings to life a remarkable man whose thoughts and actions speak to our most burning contemporary issues and still inspire our desires, hopes and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 126 x 194 x 30mm | 358.34g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Abacus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Section: 16, B&W
  • 0349112983
  • 9780349112985
  • 12,825

Review Text

The life of Dr. King, presented in his own words. As director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, Carson (In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s, 1980, etc.) has enjoyed unprecedented access to King's published and unpublished writings. Out of these he has fashioned what he terms an "approximation of an autobiography that King might have written." Despite obvious pitfalls - one cannot know how King might have presented himself, had he lived - this work is compelling. Focusing mainly on intellectual and political development (King wrote little of his private self), this quasi-autobiography reminds a reader of how complex King was in his thinking and how singular in his purpose (the pursuit of justice). The familiar events of King's rise within the civil fights movement are presented, but so are subtleties of the intellectual evolution of nonviolent resistance. Far from simply mimicking Gandhi, King developed a nuanced philosophy based on the possibility of goodness reached through faith and reason. Carson portrays King as an opponent not only of racial inequality but of economic inequality, too. As the civil rights movement took a more militant turn, King spoke presciently of "Black Power" as a positive cultural phenomenon but also as a self-defeating, even suicidal "revolutionary" doctrine. King also comments, with a generosity of spirit, on public figures he encountered. He quite liked John and Robert Kennedy for their ability to learn and change. He was even charmed by Nixon and the seeming sincerity of his wish to create a better America, while noting that "if Richard Nixon is not sincere, he is the most dangerous man in America." Despite the inclusion of previously unpublished work, nothing startlingly new is revealed. What emerges, unsurprisingly, is a life lived with courage and conviction. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Jr. Martin Luther King

The editor, Clayborne Carson, Ph.D, is the author and editor of several books on the civil rights struggle in the United States. In 1985, Dr Carson was invited by the King family to direct the long-term project of editing and publishing the papers of Dr Martin Luther King more

Review quote

We owe a debt to Carson for delivering King to us whole... we are sumptuously prepared for the carrying the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr into the 21st Century. THE TIMES worthy... King's life was rich in emotions and intellect. FINANCIAL TIMES This book is amazingly thorough and offers many insights into one of America's most turbulent times. SOUTH TYNESIDE HERALD, GATESHEAD HERALD, NEWCASTLE HERALD This is so well-written; I really felt I had began to know the man. DAILY MAILshow more

Rating details

11,239 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 52% (5,894)
4 31% (3,444)
3 13% (1,517)
2 2% (269)
1 1% (115)

Our customer reviews

A wonderful read for those wanting an insight into the impressive life of Martin Luther King Jnr. Written in the first person from his personal notes, this book is easy to read, engaging, informative and more
by Anonymous
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