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A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback – January 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446678090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446678094
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his introduction, the one-time ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young refers to MLK as "the voice of the century," and this collection deftly pays homage to that powerful voice. Carson (a Stanford University historian) and Shepard have compiled 12 of King's greatest speeches and prefaced them with touching and inspiring introductions written and read by prominent activists, leaders and theologians, including the Dalai Lama, Sen. Edward Kennedy and others. There's a lot more here than the "I Have a Dream" masterpiece (which is beautifully introduced by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women). The material ranges from King's early talks in Alabama churches to the magnificent "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, which he gave the night before his assassination. Many of the recordings have a raw quality, giving them authenticity. When King proclaims in his address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association mass meeting that democracy is "the greatest form of government on earth," the attendees' background cheers are so deafening that listeners will have to turn down the volume. The only element lacking in this noteworthy production is an adequate set of liner notes there are no dates for the material showcased, nor do the editors tell which speeches are on which CD. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Library Journal

The word "landmark" may be applied not only to these speeches of King's but to this production as well. Great care has been taken in the writing and reading of introductions to each piece by some of the great names in Civil Rights history, bearing witness to King's call to conscience. Participants include Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and Dr. Dorothy I. Height. To hear an audience swell with excitement as King slowly and confidently builds emotional tension tempered with moral reasoning and intellectual prowess is to feel the thrill of what it must have been like to be in the great man's presence. This monumental work will be an invaluable addition to all library collections. Products of their time, some of the original recordings contain flaws in audio quality, but this does not detract at all from the overwhelming power and inherent goodness of the words or the man who spoke them. Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The quality is pretty good and the speeches are not extracts, but played in full.
C. Wickramasinghe
The introductions to each oration provide additional perspectives on eleven of the "landmark speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.".
Harriet Klausner
Receipt and quality of our recent purchases were prompt, and the condition of the items orders were actually better than described.
Para Agboga

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 22, 2002
Format: Audio CD
As an insight in MLK Jr and his power as a speaker, the audio version is wonderful. However, the CD's have a fundamental flaw - 5 of the discs cannot be played on a computer or in the car. It seems that they have some wacky indexing system that means that computers and car CD players can't read the necessary info. I've tried the discs in 3 computers and 2 cars - all with the same result. A terrible flaw in a wonderful product!! I can't listen to the speeches as I work, or as I drive to work - the only real time that I get to myself. Other than that, they're just about perfect!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Stanford University Professor Clayborne Carson compiles some of the great speeches by Dr. King that stirred the world into positive social activity. Most of the entries are famous such as the "I Have A dream", a personal favorite not just solely because of the moving address. I shared a row in coach on a plane from Hartsfield to Reagan with Congressman Lewis who still has butterflies from that landmark moment in history any time he flies into DC. The introductions to each oration provide additional perspectives on eleven of the "landmark speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.". This is a wonderful collection that takes the reader back to a time of turmoil in which a prophet arose to awaken a generation into believing not just dreaming that justice and equality needs to be the American way.

Harriet Klausner
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It is no doubt MLK's speeches are great and did alot
to shape American thinking. Unfortunately, I can only
play the first 2 CDs on my CD player. I have a friend
who has a CD player that can play all of them. Apparently
it has something to do with the index numbering on each
CD. Instead of each CD starting at 1 it starts where the previous CD left off. I wouldn't take a chance that this
product won't play in your CD player. I think it is very
unfortunate that I paid so much for the complete set of speeches
and I can't listen to most of it.
I WOULD WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT VERSION COMES OUT THAT CORRECTS THIS
FLAW.
It would have been also nice to have some text to accompany the
audio CDs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Griffiths on March 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As the introduction to this book says, 'this is a unique way to read and understand history: from its primary sources.' The book is valuable, even essential, for two reasons.
First, the complete text of eleven of MLK's speeches is collected in one volume. Previous anthologies have offered extracts and snippets, but here we can read complete transcripts, audience participation and all:
'Well, I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead. (Amen) But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. (Yeah) [Applause] And I don't mind. [Applause continues]'
Second, each speech is introduced by significant contemporaries of King - Rosa Parks, Aretha Franklin, the Dalai Lama (like King, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient), Edward Kennedy and others. These prefaces help to set the speeches in their historical context, and to highlight the continuing importance of King's legacy.
As I write this review I have taken a few moments to reread King's last speech, 'I've been to the mountaintop' - Thirty three years on, it still has the power to move me to tears. As Andrew Young writes:
'They killed the dreamer at thirty-nine years of age, but the dream will live on into the new millennium, when men and women must still learn to resolve their problems with the force of truth, the power of love, and faith in the Spirit to lead us all into a new promised land.'
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on January 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The few snippets of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech that are dutifully trotted out every January give little indication of his incredible ability to communicate and inspire. To me, the only way to experience the power of King's word is to hear them as he preached them. His slow, halting starts; his slow build ups; his hoarse, shouting, growling and resonant voice; ideas that are recombined and developed from speech to speech; King's evident weariness, outrage and persistence; and the enthusiastic, rapturous response of his audiences come across infinitely better on audio than they do on the printed page.

"A Call to Conscience" highlights King at his best. His erudition and breadth of knowledge were astounding; his ability to apply the words of Jesus and Gandhi to the civil rights struggle connected abstract principles of religion and civil disobedience to real life suffering; his commitment to end segration and discrimation by non-violent means was awe-inspiring; his desire to build a loving brotherhood of all races was visionary; his willingness to suffer without bitterness at the hands of his enemies sets him high and apart from many in the human race. Each speech is introduced by someone involved with King and the struggle for equality. Speeches are often followed by gospel music sung during the movement. Taken together, these elements comprise an elegant and moving tribute to a man whose words and actions propelled America out of self-imposed hypocrisy, and toward a world in which all are measured by the content of our character, and not the color of our skins.
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