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The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446676500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446676502
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

By weaving together an unprecedented amount of material, including Dr. King's books, articles, essays, personal letters, and unpublished manuscripts, Clayborne Carson (historian, documentarian, and director of the King Papers Project) has crafted an excellent production that represents the unique medium of audiobooks at its very best. With the effective and engaging narration of actor Levar Burton as a foundation, the tapes provide understanding and insight into this important religious and political leader's powerful convictions. Original music from the civil rights movement, plus rare recordings of Dr. King's moving speeches and sermons, help create an inspiring portrait of one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. (Running time: 9 hours, 6 cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project and author of A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., has pieced together an incomplete study of King's life by supplementing his extant autobiographies (e.g., Stride Toward Freedom and Where Do We Go from Here) with previously unpublished and published writings, interviews and speeches. If King's rhetorical flourishes and use of the word "negro" sometimes seem outdated, the compilation still offers a concise first-person account of his life from his birth in Atlanta in 1929 to his awakening social consciousness and discovery of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. History propelled King to center stage in the struggle for black liberation. When Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat in 1955, the "once dormant and quiescent Negro community was now fully awake" and King, along with many others in Montgomery's black community, organized the bus boycott that would launch King into his leadership role in the civil rights movement. The book offers glimpses of King's family life as well a view of famous Americans such as Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and JFK. (In 1960, King did not feel "there was much difference between Kennedy and Nixon." He writes, "I felt at points that he was so concerned about being President of the United States that he would compromise basic principles.") But what is most evident throughout Carson's study is the moral courage that sustained King and allowed him to inspire a largely peaceful mass movement against segregation in the face of bloody reprisals. (Dec.) FYI: In November, Carol Publishing will release Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X, by his nephew Rodnell P. Collins. ($21.95 230p ISBN 1-55972-491-9)
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 93 customer reviews
This was an outstanding page turner from cover to cover.
Cassandra Foster
The autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. is a manifestation of his thoughts, words, philosophies, and his way of life, reborn and written by Clayborne Carson.
"moccavb"
Although not an "autobiography" in a strict sense, this book offers a unique glimpse into the life of one of history's most important activists.
Bahman Nouri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Hilde Bygdevoll on October 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
The book "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr." is Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson's amazing account of one of the most impressive leaders to have ever lived.
This is an outstanding biography and it accounts for the full story of Dr. King, literally from cradle to grave. Martin Luther King Jr. at university, when he met his wife Coretta, their children being born, the movement begins, fights and struggles, getting arrested etc. etc. Carson does an absolutely amazing job transporting the reader into Dr. King's thoughts, ideas and feelings. I have only read a couple of other biographies that I rank as high as I rank this one. The other two are Che Guevara and Malcolm X's biographies.
Few people are given strength, means and opportunity to make a real and great impact in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only given such opportunity; he seized upon his opportunity as well. His fights and sacrifices made life better not only for millions of black people in America - his fight made the world a better place to be for all of us.
The author uses Dr. King's letters, college papers, and speeches; such as the "I have a dream" speech from 1963, and the Nobel Peace Prize speech from 1964 when telling his story. I had never read the whole "I have a dream" speech, so I greatly enjoyed that.
Carson has done a great jobs combining his own research with Dr. King's own speeches and writings and this is all masterfully woven together into a unique biography. Dr. King had a huge impact on the Civil Right movement, and he made his way into American history as one of its greatest, most charismatic leaders ever.
My recommendation is given for two reasons. Firstly, Dr. King is an extraordinary interesting subject, but also because of Carson's excellent job writing this biography.
Great read - highly recommended!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Stickley on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
When every child turns 16 in this country they should be required to read this book. I can't think of any other book that hit me so hard in the gut. Each page was a revelation, a call to humanity. MLK wasn't a saint but he was such a deeply focused, powerful person that his influence will be felt as long as this species roams this earth. Every chapter is perfectly put together, cohesive and augmented by personal papers, speeches, etc. the Editor knows his subject and it shows in the way the book, the story is organized. Simply inspirational.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Ryder on November 20, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
I was born the same year that MLK was assassinated, and grew up hearing snippets of his speeches on TV documentaries. I appreciated his stature as a leader in the abstract. Listening to his speeches on these tapes redoubled my esteem. I felt like I was there; I was really moved. The effect is different from, and maybe better than TV footage, because the mind's eye is not trapped watching the preselected pictures. You think more about MLK's message. Also, I give credit to Carson for setting the stage for each speech with good background information. Levar Burton reads it with passion in his voice.
My one criticism is that it is not really an autobiography, as it says on the cover. The background to MLK's speeches (which are the real recordings) is read in the first person, but is not something that he actually wrote. With more effort, the editors could have strung together enough original material by MLK and his correspondents to make a coherent narrative. For example, the one volume collection of Lincoln's writings edited by Roy Basler is just selected letters in order by date, but it reads like a gripping drama. That's a more honest and better approach.
Still, I am really pleased and proud to be the owner of these MLK tapes. I give them six months before I wear them out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ken Showman on January 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Clayborne Carson has done a great job of combining MLK's writings and speeches into a single narrative that tells the story of King's life and the amazing impact he had on the U.S. civil rights movement. This is not Mr. Carson writing from the perspective of Dr. King; it's King's words almost verbatim, with relatively minor editorial changes to allow disparate writings to flow together into an autobiography that otherwise simply would not exist. Of course, as any autobiography would, this book only tells the story of the civil rights movement from a single perspective -- but in this case, that perspective gives truly unique insight into the philosophy that drove King every day of his life. And it's impossible not to be moved by King's last sermon, which ends with an inspiring, heart-wrenching foreshadowing of the fate that awaited him the very next day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "moccavb" on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
The autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. is a manifestation of his thoughts, words, philosophies, and his way of life, reborn and written by Clayborne Carson. Carson has done a great job re-writing Kings life, and combining his letters, and speeches, and notes with his words to create the world of Martin Luther King again for us. The book gives us good insight on MLK's life, and his impact on the civil rights movement. You get to know his standpoints well, and how the man worked things out. Sadly you mostly can read about MLK's life inside the civil rights movement, and less about him at home, or his relationship with his family. This is a good one to help you gain insight on the civil rights movement of that time, and all in all, is a great and interesting book to read even if the civil rights is not your main interest.
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