Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop Paperback – January 6, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Historian Sitkoff covers the major points in the time line of King's life and the Civil Rights movement—from the Montgomery bus boycott to the March on Washington, his anti–Vietnam War activism and assassination in 1968—but this brief, rudimentary volume will enlighten only the most novice student of Civil Rights history. The author passes through major moments in an informal tone that borders on the flippant (King the gentle Jesus had bested [Birmingham police commissioner Eugene Bull] Connor the sadistic Satan). Sitkoff (The Enduring Vision, co-editor) attends to the civil rights leader's flaws as well as his accomplishments, noting King's early plagiarism and making frequent reference to his sexual dalliances (King flitted from one thinker to another at almost the same rate as he wrecked young women). Though Sitkoff includes excerpts from King's books and speeches (jazzed up with audience responses, e.g., All right, yessir!), neophytes are better served by David J. Garrow's Pulitzer Prize–winning Bearing the Cross, which Sitkoff acknowledges in his ample and gracious Bibliographic Essay.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Sitkoff provides a vivid portrait that deserves to be widely read, not only as the standard short King biography but also as an incisive essay on his significance today.” ―San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Written with skill and imagination . . . King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop is clearly the best short biography we have of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.” ―The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Harvard Sitkoff wants to remind us of his subject's subversive agenda, and to banish the ‘airbrushed' portrait of a ‘moderate, respectable ally of presidents' . . . Sitkoff argues that the more militant King is the more relevant King. And he's right.” ―The New York Observer
“Persuasive . . . Sitkoff's skillful choice of material, his organization of the text and his fine writing style (especially compared with most academic historians) raise the biography to the top rank of books about King.” ―The News and Observer (Raleigh)
“King is a perfect combination of author and subject: one of the deans of civil rights history tracing the life of the movement's towering figure. Harvard Sitkoff has performed a remarkable feat, giving us a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., that is simultaneously concise and complex, judicious and deeply moving.” ―Kevin Boyle, author of the National Book Award–winning Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The birth, death, and everything in between the life of Martin Luther King is covered in chronological order in this book. From his college days to his first gigs as Reverend, from Montgomery to Albany. Even King's lesser known campaign against the War in Vietnam, which seriously severed his acquaintance with President Johnson, is taken on in attempt to present King as not being limited to the equality cause (177). Sitkoff, a true admirer of King, descriptively paints King's life in order to lay the groundwork for the reader and then interprets King's goals and ideas. Sitkoff takes the reader through the private behind-the-scenes matters that played throughout the Reverend's life. For example, when King was away from his wife and children for many weeks at a time he secretly satisfied his biological cravings with women who admired his authority (64). These episodes, which lasted throughout his entire life, caught the attention of J. Edgar Hoover who would harass and black mail King on multiple fronts (145).
King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop acts as a memoir of the man it is named after. It examines the experiences and also the ideals of this man and the many journeys he has taken. Many characters played a role throughout King's life. Some influenced him, others frustrated him, and many opposed him, but all inspired King and proved to him the great value of his cause and reminded him why he should continue to struggle. Sitkoff briefly writes on how people like Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, and Malcolm X shaped King's intentions and route towards achieving the desired equality his people lacked. King's political viewpoints and plans were morphed by the many people he came across throughout his life. This book touches on the man himself but also on those surrounding him who inadvertently contributed to his philosophy.
If I could amend King I would have added a bit more information on King's interactions with people, like Malcolm X and the United States Presidents with whom he worked with, in proportion to the amount of information presented on his early life. His interactions with those he worked with would have given interesting insight into the leader he was when he was not surrounded by a crowd. I understand how important his childhood and college years were in shaping his personality and approach to problem solving but I also believe that people who had positive and negative influences greatly changed his approaches even more. The minor feud and eventual mutualism between King and Malcolm X is widely known but there is little mention of their relations in this book. Conversely, King's personal communications and meetings with Presidents such as Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson are lesser known and still somewhat of a mystery after reading this book.
Whatever was left out by the author was still unnecessary to prove Sitkoff's idea of King as a powerful and greatly influential leader. Describing King as a hard-working, caring, and intellectual man, Sitkoff lets the evidence stand on its own. Early on as a Reverend, King spent many long nights writing powerful sermons full of historical allusions and memorizing them. He is also characterized as a Reverend who paid more attention than other clerics to his congregant's "earthly condition" (20). The reader finds that King was an innovator even before all of his well-known work with the Civil Rights Movement. He was someone who studied hard to acquire the great knowledge of the world he has become known for. King remained a student for his entire life.
The subject of the Civil Rights Movement is more than just an interest for the author Harvard Sitkoff. Sitkoff is a professor of History at the University of New Hampshire and the author of multiple books on Black Studies and American History. In the acknowledgments portion of this book, Sitkoff tells the reader that he has always been a great admirer of Martin Luther King and even had the privilege of shaking the leader's hand at a rally. Sitkoff also experienced standing in the rain and watching as King's casket was hauled away.
Sitkoff includes within his book seventeen pages of bibliography where he proves all of his claims. Most sources are from professional historians at Universities but others include other biographies and books written on American history as well as civil rights institutions and foundations. A book cannot get much more credible and scholarly than this.
It is certainly important for all Americans to know who paved the path which is before them. Their fellow countrymen of yesterday shaped how today looks. Martin Luther King is just one of the many important figures in this country's history who changed everything for the better. Understanding the journey of our forefathers is valuable knowledge for all to have. This book is great for those who have already indulged in the history of this land but also for those looking for a place to start. One need not have any prior familiarity with King to appreciate this book yet even scholars could gain treasured insight.
I would highly recommend this book to those looking to study King as a reverend, as a leader, and as a man. His life was so accomplished yet at the same time he had his grave weaknesses. King was as sinful as anyone else and he would openly admit this (227). Everyone can relate to this man in one way or another and appreciate his struggles and putting his life on the line to demand the equality he knew the Constitution had promised. From reading this book one could expect to gain great understanding not only of King but also of the Civil Rights Movement as a whole and the many problems ordinary African-Americans were plagued with on a daily basis.
Sitkoff does an excellent job mapping out King's life, exposing King as a radical Liberal, opponent to presidents, peace advocate, and strong opponent of the Vietnam War.
The autobiography also exposes America's flawed society which rejects change and "radicalism." In particular, America rejecting King's opposition to the War in Vietnam. King opposed Vietnam, and the consensus of historians in 2009 view the war as a major mistake and a foreign policy failure. Sitkoff points out King saw this in the 1960s, and everyone rejected his ideas and wrote him off as a lunatic. King's story has stood the test of time, and he has gone down in history as one of the greatest peace and equal rights advocates in America's history.
Sitkoff created a masterpiece, exposing King's flaws and his strengths, making the average American able to relate to such an important historical figure. Sitkoff doesn't white wash King as a moral leader, nor a religious figure whatsoever. Sitkoff points out the flaws that King possessed, but also King's successes and strengths leaving you to be the judge how important King was to America.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great man.Read more