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An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (Updated) Updated Edition

23 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 1844672859
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Editorial Reviews


“Pepper has gathered an impressive array of testimony and evidence that, even to determined skeptics, throws a major doubt over the state’s case against James Earl Ray.” (Kirkus )

“Passionate, disturbing, and well-researched.” (Booklist )

“Within the first chapter, An Act of State presents enough circumstantial evidence to raise questions about Ray’s involvement as the sole assassin.” (Washington Post )

“We recommend this book to everyone who seeks the truth about Dr. King's assassination.” (Coretta Scott King )

“No one has done more than Dr William F. Pepper to keep alive the quest for truth concerning the violent death of Martin Luther King.” (Ramsey Clark, US Attorney General, 1967-69 )

About the Author

William F. Pepper is an English barrister and an American lawyer. He practices international human rights law from the US and from London, and has convened a seminar on international human rights at Oxford University. He has represented governments and heads of state, and has appeared as an expert on international law issues. He is the author of four other books and numerous articles.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Updated edition (April 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844672859
  • ASIN: B005B1KZBC
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,513,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By BLS on July 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's front-page news in 2009 that Dick Cheney presided over covert hit squads operating around the world and very likely in the US, too. It may be "news" --- but it's not really new.

What this flawed but very important book reveals, based on 20 years of research by attorney Pepper, is the MO used in the '60s to eliminate an enemy of the Status Quo. Pepper's investigation determined that King was most likely killed by a hidden gunman who happened to be the Memphis police force's top marksman, and he in turn was backed up by Army Special Ops snipers posted on nearby buildings to "triangulate" the target. (Perhaps this sounds absurd --- please read the book.) A patsy, James Earl Ray, was framed to take the rap; the rifle he supposedly used was found to be woefully inaccurate, and bullets fired from it didn't match the one that killed King. Witnesses and peripheral participants in the crime were murdered. Evidence was lost or tampered with. Ray pleaded guilty on the advice of his lawyer, Percy Foreman, who had deep connections to the likely perpetrators of the assassination. A massive cover-up and disinfo campaign ensured that the public would discount any version of what happened in favor of the official myth.

Does any of this sound familiar?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edit of 8 May 08: Reverend Wright preaches in the negative, but this does not mean he is wrong, only inflamatory. Senator Obama's first instinct was correct: he can no more deny those who walked with us than we can the truth. In renouncing Reverend Wright, Senator Obama demonstrated his subordination to "the system," the same subordination that swallowed Colin Powell, who confused loyalty with integrity.

John 8:32 Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The updated book is better than the original because it includes a post 9-11 Afterword.

So many people are going to consider this book to be a provocation, a conspiracy theory, revisionist, etc. I will start with three compelling reasons to take this seriously:

1. The author is a recognized barrister in England and lawyer in the US. His reputation is impeccable, and he is respected by heads of state and of international organizations concerned with human rights.

2. The author brought a civil suit in which it took the jury less than one hour of deliberation after all the facts had been laid out, to find for the plaintiffs (the King family survivors) and agree that the US Government was complicit in his murder.

3. The evidence of US Government complicity in crimes against humanity as well as high crimes and misdemeanors of all sorts, is now over-whelming within the non-fiction literature. Cover-ups are the norm.

Here are my flyleaf notes:

+ King was leading a coalition of peace and civil rights in 1967, one that expanded to address economic injustice and the rights of indigenous people's everywhere, but especially in Viet-Nam.
Read more ›
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L. Bloch on March 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
In short, Martin Luther King was killed by agents of the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee, and the Federal Government. The family sued for his wrongful death, the case was argued before a jury, which found for the King Family.

The family has posted the transcript from the trial at their website, so you can follow-up and learn more after reading the book:


It is very important that everyone in the US and the world understands that it will be almost impossible for some lone-nut to kill Obama unless the Secret Service stands down.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on July 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pepper's evidence / narrative is jaw-dropping. The book is thoroughly documented, presenting evidence that would have easily been uncovered had James Earl Ray gone to trial rather than entering a guilty plea. What one does not learn is the REAL role Ray did play. Rather, it presents evidence about who really committed the murder and the identities of the many players who came together to get rid of a man they all found inconvenient.

Like the Kennedy conspiracy one learns more than one might like to know about how things really work in an incredibly imperfect world. No sacred cows here.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dennis P. McMahon on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William Pepper's powerful recounting of his thirty-year quest to uncover the truth behind the assassination of Martin Luther King, is absolutely riveting. Who knew that a civil jury had found that a governmental conspiracy was behind the King assassination? History is indebted to Mr. Pepper for the dedicated work he has done here, and in the process for revealing the mainstream media for what it is--the public relations firm for a murderous and corrupted government. Fearing the emergence of the "New World Order?" Apparently that nightmare has been a reality since at least the 1960s.

On a more optimistic note, especially moving in "An Act of State" is Mr. Pepper's insight into, and expression of, all that Martin Luther King stood for and believed in. And yes, Mr. King's dream does live on in each of us who internalized it, as Mr. Pepper prosaically notes in the afterword.
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