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Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare Paperback – Unabridged, September 1, 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883448246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883448243
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By B. Bennett-Carpenter on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dr James Cone's MARTIN AND MALCOLM AND AMERICA: A DREAM OR A NIGHTMARE is one of the best books I've encountered.

Cone discusses the rhetorical strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Malcolm X as they applied to their particular audiences: King to the South and Malcolm X to the North. Cone argues that Martin King's strategy of non-violent protest, while effective in the extremely segregated and anti-integrationist South, was not effective in the North (particularly in cities like Chicago and Detroit) because the discourse and policy of "integration" was already superficially accepted by Northeners. The "liberal" North found King's rhetoric to be more or less agreeable even as the structures of discrimination continued to subject black people to a brutal double-standard. Thus Malcolm X's policy of Black Nationalism (separatist rather than integrationist) that allowed for violence epitomized by the slogan "by any means necessary" was more successful in the North because it more effectively confronted personal and systematic racism. Long story short: two different rhetors with different rhetorics because of different situations, different audiences, with different immediate goals. Interestingly, near the close of both men's lives--Malcolm X killed in 1965 and Martin King in 1968--Malcolm began to sound a little more like Martin; and Martin began to speak even more forcefully, not unlike Malcolm had been known to do previously.

I had the great luxury of hearing Dr Cone present a lecture based on the book back in 1992. Twelve years later, my assesment of the book remains constant: Outstanding.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alex Nichols, author of Shadow Rock on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
James Cone's "Martin & Malcolm & America" is a fascinating contrast of the lives, experiences, and thoughts of two icons. It is written in a style that recalls good investigative journalism as it maps out the tumultuous times in which the two lived.
The philosophies of Malcolm and Martin, often portrayed as polar opposites in the media, are grounded in certain similarities. Both based their viewpoints on their religious traditions, believed that God was on the side of the poor and oppressed, and both held a passionate belief in the dignity of black lives. Both philosophies were formed in spite of the fact that they lived in a age when the institutions that ruled America either neglected the dignity of blacks, or ignored civil rights issues altogether.
The lives of Malcolm and Martin were quite different, however. Martin was raised in a upper middle class family in Atlanta, the descendant of slaves whose father and grandfather both became prominant preachers. He life afforded him a great education -- at Morehouse, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University. His family was close knit.
Malcolm, by contrast, saw his father murdered by white supremicists and his mother abused by the social service agencies, which eventually institutionalized her. Malcolm ended up in the foster care system and eventually went to prison for petty crime. There, he came to value the importance of education, and read voraciously. Introduced by his brother to the Nation of Islam, he had a powerful conversion experience in prison. After his release, he became second in command to Elijah Mohammed, the religion's leader.
Both Martin and Malcolm spent their time working to improve the quality of black lives.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Martin and Malcolm and America presents an extraordinary comparison of the two most influential figures of the Civil Rights movement. It is especially enlightening because it presents the sides of each man which the world has forgotten, that is, the militant nature of the later teachings of Dr. King and the more conciliatory nature of the later teachings of Brother Malcolm. James Cone also focuses heavily on the religious aspects of each man's teaching, arguing that neither man's philosophy can be separated from the religious doctrines he espoused.
If I had one critique of this book, it is that Cone relies too heavily on the Autobiography of Malcolm X for his Malcolm information. Almost all of his Malcolm info is quoted directly from that book, and like most autobiographies, Malcolm wrote/dictated with a bit of license. Having read the autobiography twice, it got a bit annoying at times to reread Malcolm's own words about himself. Malcolm was a far more complex (and more interesting) character than he portrayed himself to be, and that part was left out. (For more info, I'd recommend "Malcolm : The Life of the Man Who Changed Black America.")
All in all, though, this is a book that should be on your bookshelf. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is well written and sheds light on the influence each man had in his primary arena and illustrates how the ripples touched those who were marginal to their arena. It illustrated the psuedo-dichotomy between the two political leaders and shows how they evolved to meet each other in the middle before their deaths. Definitely a book for someone who wishes to begin an indepth study of Martin King and Malcolm X.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JFrank6008@aol.com on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cone presents an indepth review of how Martin King and Malcolm X complimented and connected in their efforts to address problems of race and class in America. Used as a text in undergraduate courses on "social problems", this work offer students new insight into the lives and visions of these two American leaders and their attempts to confront the problems of our time. Well written and easily understood, Cone's work is a useful and challenging tool for better understanding the issues of race and class in America.
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