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Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63 Paperback – Bargain Price, November 15, 1989
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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
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Martin Luther King is the central figure in Branch's narrative, but the book is much more than a biography, as befits its subtitle, "America in the King Years, 1954-63." For example, Branch begins his account with the stormy tenure of Vernon Johns as minister at Montgomery, AL's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church--at which church Johns was replaced by a young man still often known as "Mike" King. By broadening his account beyond King's own experiences, Branch accurately conveys how the civil rights movement was far more than just the activities of a few well-known leaders.
Branch's research would do credit to any professional historian. He conducted hundreds of interviews and worked with a vast amount of primary source material. His writing is compelling, repeatedly capturing the intensity of both public and private events. Even though the hardcover edition is over 900 pages, when I first read it I found it incredibly hard to put aside.
His range of subjects is necessarily wide and deep, and we find coverage of every aspect of the tumultuous struggle beginning in the deep South, and gradually working its way north and west until most of the urban northeast also surrendered to the battle cry for civil rights and justice under the law. In many respects this borders on being a biography of Martin Luther King and his times, yet Branch so extends his coverage of the eddies and currents of the movement itself that it appears to be by far the most comprehensive and fair-minded treatment of the civil rights movement published to date. Whether covering the issue of Martin Luther King's own personal life, his internal philosophical concerns, or his appetite for young white women, the reader is engaged with every element of this and a thousand other personalities, issues, and events that carved out the history of our country for almost twenty years.Read more ›
Author Branch presents an enormous cast of characters and complicated interweaving storylines to tell the amazing story of the civil rights movement at a time when the country was struggling to integrate the moral momentum of WWII into a domestic reconciliation on race. By making King the main road through which all things pass, the huge story stays on track and remains a story of human, instead of political, dimensions.
King was a dreamer and a pragmatic strategist. But many of his most illuminating moments came from unexpected or desperate places such as his first movement speech in the early days of the Montgomery bus boycott or his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail." Branch shows how the movement drew more power from epiphanies and spontaneous acts than it did from planned insurrections. That passion of the human spirit to right the world, as exemplified by Dr. King, frames this story.
Even though we all know the history of the boycotts, the sit-ins, the marches, the voter registration drives, and the Freedom Rides, Branch writes so forcefully and knowledgeably about the people, that it comes alive all over again. The outcome seems uncertain despite us knowing the ending which is what makes the stories in this book living history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This combined Martin Luther King biography / civil rights struggle history does justice to neither of its subjects. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr.
Abridged?!?!? Audible, get your act together and record this complete chronicle in its entirety. One of the greatest pieces of historical writing and you can't listen to it, but... Read morePublished 5 months ago by James Abraham
Historian Taylor Branch has written an extensive canon of a struggle and a movement that began after 1867. Read morePublished 6 months ago by R. DelParto
An important part of American history that is overlooked.....Published 10 months ago by Angela G Powell