- Series: America in the King Years
- Paperback: 1088 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (November 15, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671687425
- ISBN-13: 978-0671687427
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 114 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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.
Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63 Reprint Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
A great gift for country music fans, The Anthology Part 1 includes CDs containing the music of Garth's first five years, and behind-the-scenes photographs and stories never before made public. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
The first book of a formidable three-volume social history, Parting the Waters is more than just a biography of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the decade preceding his emergence as a national figure. Branch's thousand-page effort, which won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, profiles the key players and events that helped shape the American social landscape following World War II but before the civil-rights movement of the 1960s reached its climax. The author then goes a step further, endeavoring to explain how the struggles evolved as they did by probing the influences of the main actors while discussing the manner in which events conspired to create fertile ground for change.
Timeline of a Trilogy
Taylor Branch's America in the King Years series is both a biography of Martin Luther King and a history of his age. No timeline can do justice to its wide cast of characters and its intricate web of incident, but here are some of the highlights, which might be useful as a scorecard to the trilogy's nearly 3,000 pages.
From Publishers Weekly
Pacifist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr influenced Martin Luther King Jr. more deeply than did Gandhi, according to Branch, whose 880-page chronicle shows the civil rights leader taking Billy Graham's evangelist crusades as his model for organizing mass meetings to attack segregation. Epic in scope, often startling in its judgments and revelations, this gripping narrative mingles biography and history as it moves from the founding in 1867 of the First Baptist Church in Alabama, where King's movement took hold, to John Kennedy's assassination. Branch, journalist and coauthor of Second Wind , provides disturbing glimpses of John Kennedy wavering over integration while manipulating King, and of Robert Kennedy, who authorized FBI wiretaps on King's home and offices. Ralph Abernathy, Bayard Rustin and other leaders are also here, though King holds center-stage for most of the narrative. This stirring, vivid tapestry is the first volume in Branch's America in the King Years. First serial to Washington Post Magazine; BOMC segmented main selection.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This book is so inspiring it has given me the opportunity to view my race from different lens, a people I am proud of for standing up when it would have been safer to sit back.
It encourages you for future.
In all of these volumes Branch's strength is his straight-ahead reportage of what happened. Unlike most writers on the civil rights movement, he seems to have no personal agenda, nor position in the issues that were constantly in contention. His picture of King is honest without the hero worship some invest him with.
In this first volume I was impressed by Branch's picture of the middle class milieu that Martin Luther King Jr. emerged from as well as his continued struggle with that milieu or rather participation in struggles within that milieu over whether to take an activist position in the civil rights movement. King always faced not only white racist opposition, but the opposition to others within the African American middle class and especially within the Black Church. This was reflected in the struggle Branch records within the National Baptist Convention, the large Black religious organization on the planet, between Taylor, supported by King and Jackson, a struggle in which the anti-civil rights activism Jackson won.
Another facet of this history is the way the struggle was constantly initiated and pushed forward by two forces, black working and farming people like Rosa Parks and E.D. Nixon, the two people who launched the bus boycott in Montgomery with King, and the tremendous uprising by Black college and high school youth that began with the lunch counter sit-ins in 1960s and continued throughout this period. Constantly it was initiatives and struggles launched by these forces, rather than the machinations or strategy of King and his colleagues that pushed the movement forward.
Sadly, the book revealed a level of collaboration and subordination by King to the powers that be that could have only stifled the struggle. King continually looked to these forces to provide the real force and impetus to break down Southern Segregation, and was continually rejected except when the mass struggle forced the government to act. Branch explains thatsituations that seemed like confrontations between Southern Segregationists and the Kennedy administration like the University integration battles in Mississippi and Alabama were arranged behind the scenes between Kennedy and the segregations to take place in a way that would not weaken the Southern Democrats who led the fight against integration.
This volume recounts how the little skirmishes between J Edgard Hoover, head of the FBI and Kennedy did not get in the way of Kennedy's use of red-baiting to limit and control the civil rights movement in general and King's Southern Christian Leadership Council in particular. What is interesting here is that Branch reveals that despite the political demise of the Communist party as a force in the 1950s under the blows of the witch hunt, the revelations about Stalin's criminal rule, and the crushing of the Hungarian revolution, through this period the bulk of the FBI's focus was fighting "subversives" and not crime.
Yet, the FBI never played any serious role in prosecuting the bombings, murders, burning of homes and churches, and the other terror and brutalization of Black folk seeking their rights throughout this period. Even when the Kennedys were forced to provide law enforcement and phyiscal force against the segregationists, they had to go AROUND the FBI bringing in border patrolmen, prison guards, drug enforcement agents, US marshalls, and the military. As can testify as someone who spent time in the voter registration drives in the Mississippi, Branch is completely accurate when he show that the FBI's real role was to slander, disrupt, paralyze, and otherwise set back the Civil Rights struggle.
We should look at Branch's trilogy about what they say about bigger questions than even civil rights. In the years he covers, a fundamental change took place in the United States. Jim Crow segregation was shattered, big advances took place in Black rights across the country, and the ability of reaction to use racism to carry out its business was weakened. Of course, Black people remain oppressed, formal legal segregation has been replaced by de facto segregation, and racism permeates this society.
However, we can look at the King years as years when millions of African Americans, millions of youth, and millions of other working people entered political life and made big changes. In doing so they pointed the direction still needed to get out of these problems. For this, these books should be studied, for future battles, not nostalgia for the past!