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Martin Luther King Jr (Routledge Historical Biographies) Hardcover – September 13, 2002

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'The writer excels in the depth of detail offered ... [this] is a thoroughly interesting and informative text ... I would have no hesitation in recommending this text to either a historian or someone with a genuine interest in learning more about people, past or present.' - S.A.T.H Resources Review

'...refreshing and educational...the attention devoted by the author to the importance of King's relationships and the significance of family life are other strengths within this text.' Scott W. Murphy, Teachers of History Review

About the Author

Peter J. Ling is Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Nottingham, England, and has taught about the American Civil Rights Movement for 15 years. He is co-editor of Gender in the Civil Rights Movement and author of America and the Automobile. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Historical Biographies
  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (September 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415216648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415216647
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,101,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mr. Nc Shackley on August 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
In his biography, Peter J Ling attempts to inform the reader about the book's subject in less than three hundred pages what other writers such as David Garrow described in books over twice the length. It is fair to say he has succeeded; the main incidents and themes of King's life are given a good and balanced treatment, such as the Montgomery bus boycotts, his stance on the Vietnam war, through to his assassination and its effect on the world.

Early on in the book, Ling quotes a fellow civil rights activist who claimed "Martin didn't make the movement, the movement made Martin". The whole book appears to be an attempt to assess that statement - of whether King really was the saviour and hero he is perceived as being today, or whether he was simply swept along in a media ride and has been immortalised since his early death. Although it is never explicitly stated, Ling appears to lean toward the latter argument, but never does so without denying King's greatness or without credible evidence.

Although the prose is well written and lucid, my only complaint would be that Ling does not seem to have the same passion for King's life that others who have covered the same topic, such as Stephen Oates and Michael Eric Dyson. He mentions throughout the book that biographies should not be trusted by those serious in studying history, because they tend to exaggerate the achievements of the individual. Perhaps that is why his love for the subject never completely shines through.

Whatever disagreements readers may have with it, it is a welcome addition to the King biography shelf because of its concise style and unbiased manner. A suitable book for students of King's life.
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