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

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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." --Hon. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York

"Rare and invaluable insider's insight into not only the happenings of the day but also the people involved... careful with even the smallest morsel of detail." -- The Irish Examiner

"Best book I've read on the King years. An extraordinary insider's account of one of the seminal moments in American history. What you think you know about the Dream speech is wrong until you've read this book." --Matt Bennett, Executive Director of Third Way

“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, Forbes.com

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 is a featured writer for The Huffington Post. He divides his time between rural Pennsylvania and New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230103685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230103689
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #900,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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.
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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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an interesting look behind the scenes. It is good to be reminded that even within a movement for social justice, there are forces negotiating on tactics and ideology, personalities vying for positions of authority, and external forces arrayed against those in the movement. The book is well written and engaging.
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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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating behind the scenes look at not only the preparations required for this historic event and famous speech but also the many challenges the organizers faced. Did you know King ad-libbed the second half and most famous part of the speech due to Mahalia Jackson's cry: "Tell them about the dream, Martin!"? The book encouraged me to immediately watch the speech again in its entirety with a fresh understanding of what went into that historic moment in time. The last 40 or so pages of the book, where Clarence Jones gives an update on race relations and issues related to the speech, is thoughtful and inspiring.
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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.
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Format: Hardcover
I went from knowing suprisingly little about the March on Washington to feeling like I was right there with a quarter million people. It is amazing to learn of the courage and sacrifices that these civil leaders embodied.
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