From Publishers Weekly
I was privy to his innermost thoughts, Jones, draft speech writer and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., assures us in this bold yet presumptuous endeavor to reveal what [King] would have to say, and what he would advise, on issues of the day. Generally speaking, King, as channeled by Jones, would be dismayed and—astonishingly—fiercely conservative. According to Jones, King would now oppose affirmative action (its time and usefulness have come and gone) and illegal immigration (the moral brazenness of those without the legal right to be here who demand that Americans treat them as though they were decorated soldiers or fighters for constitutional rights). A complicated King emerges from Jones's portrait—not the familiar pacifist but a likely supporter of the Iraq War who in Jones's words might believe that military action is an unavoidable option that even those who are otherwise committed to non-violence must be prepared to consider now in order to save many more lives later. With characteristic pugnacity, Jones excoriates black leaders who pursue policies that pimp the best interests of black people and accuses the FBI of masterminding King's assassination. The notion of acting as a medium for the departed King is provocative, but Jones is a smooth manager of feisty prose. What's here is a sort of political parlor game and, like a good parlor game, it will make for lively conversation. (Apr.)
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Attorney Jones served as an advisor and confidante to Martin Luther King Jr. for eight years and came away from that close relationship with a solid grounding in the great civil rights leader’s general thoughts as well as his thinking on specific subjects. In an exercise of intriguing—certainly not idle—speculation, Jones (with coauthor Engel) presents a handful of major civil rights issues in today’s world that were not as prominent in King’s day and takes very educated guesses at what King’s responses to these issues would be if he were still alive. To such questions, then, as What would Martin say about today’s black leadership? or What would Martin say about affirmative action? or even What would Martin say about Islamic terrorism and the war in Iraq? Jones seeks to “translate King for a modern audience.” A gimmick? Absolutely not. The lengthy responses Jones fashions, each one based on his intimate knowledge of King’s vision, are well thought out and great material for discussion. --Brad Hooper