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King: A Photobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Hardcover – November 6, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement is well documented in prose, but for sheer emotional power, nothing can compare to the pictures from this era. It's a challenge for a writer's words to match the force of Bob Adelman's photographs in this book, but novelist and essayist Charles Johnson rises to the task in his treatment of King's life and death, as well as the heroic struggle of African Americans in the United States. Johnson, the author of Middle Passage (which won the 1990 National Book Award), offers an exceptional counterpoint to the stirring images with the depth and weight of his essays and captions. "How soon we forget that King was not only a civil rights activist," Johnson writes, "but also this country's preeminent moral philosopher, a spiritual aspirant, a father and a husband, and that these diverse roles--these multiple dimensions of his too brief life--were the foundations for his singular 'dream' that inspired millions worldwide."

Adelman intimately captures King's background, from his comfortable middle-class upbringing in Atlanta to the dashing figure he cuts with his wife, Coretta, to his steady ascendance as a forceful preacher thrust into prominence during the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56. We cringe at the sight of King being photographed as a criminal and at the horrific treatment many blacks endured by racist Southern police. The triumph of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which he gave at the 1963 March on Washington, is beautifully detailed, along with his acceptance of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. We also see a weary King, weighed down by assassination attempts, harassment, inner-city riots, and the Vietnam War. Toward the end, King displays an eerie sense of calm in the photos taken just days before his death--particularly in an April 3 photo taken at the Mason Hall in Memphis the night before his murder, where he declared that he'd "been to the mountaintop." King's legacy is lovingly chronicled in this impressive book. --Eugene Holley Jr.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-An intimate portrait of the man, the myth, the persuasive preacher, influential civil-rights leader, caring father and husband, writer, and preeminent moral philosopher. Throughout the book, Johnson and Adelman's text and King's own words are combined with black-and-white photographs to illustrate how Dr. King helped transform an era and inspired a generation of young people to work for change. The more than 300 photographs come from the authors' personal files, AP archives, and Life magazine files. This photographic account of King's life is a major addition to the literature not only on the life of the leader but also on the history of the civil rights movement and civil strife in America. A welcome addition to any library.-ayo dayo, Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Studio (November 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670892165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670892167
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 12.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,338,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David H Bundy on December 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have many photography books in my personal collection, and I have several on the civil rights movement, but this book is by far the best I have seen. The book combines the work of several photographers - including Alfred Eisenstadt, Charles Moore, Henri Cartier Bresson, plus some lesser knowns - who have been individually recognized for their own work. The photographs are a true documentary of Martin Luther King's life and death with many photos I have never seen before.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on May 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The words of 1998 MacArthur Fellow Charles Johnson's ccoupled with the poignant photographs of Bob Adelman climax in this excellent literary work that chronicles the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The wonderful photographs and literary prose compliment each other beautifully throughout this masterpiece, detailing the life and democratic stuggles of King. Beginning from the early childhood of Mr. King to his untimely death,
Adelman's photographs depict a very young King with his family. It provides insight into his his upbringing and illustrates the foundation that culminates into the life of the great civil rights leader. It continues to depict his educational pursuits and ultimate marriage to the lovely Coretta Scott.
The books carries the reader through the voyage as a young King rises to prominence as a preacher, his continued quest for racial equality, and mainly
his persistent call for agapic love in conjunction with nonviolence. Also, shared in this tome is intimate photographs of King's time spent with his loving family and information about King's life that may not be well-known.
Although nearly 300-pages, this book capitvates the reader from cover to cover. All in all, Johnson and Adelman are to be commended for their efforts! This liteary piece is nothing short of superb!
Reviewed by Nedine Hunter
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe M.A. on May 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A big disappointment. It is essentially poor quality B&W photocopies (really poor quality) printed on extremely cheap paper which really take away from the content of the book. MLK deserves much better!
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