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A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback – April 29, 2003
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"Here, in [King's] own words, are the philosophy and strategy of nonviolent protest . . . King's persuasiveness comes through again and again." -- -- The New York Times Book Review
"The most powerful and enduring words of the man who touched the conscience of the nation and the world." -- -- The Kansas City Star
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Top Customer Reviews
The book includes the "I Have a Dream" speech, the letter from Birmingham jail, the "Playboy" interview, and more. There are even fascinating transcripts from two television appearances.
This is a thought-provoking collection. I was fascinated by King's strong critique of that part of the white Christian establishment which opposed his movement. It is also intriguing to read that, apart from the Bible, King would choose Plato's "Republic" if he were to be marooned on the proverbial desert island with only one book. Also noteworthy is the emergence of King's multi-faith, global vision of humanity.
This is an important volume for those interested in African-American studies, 20th century U.S. history, or progressive currents in Christian theology. But more than that, "A Testament of Hope" is truly a testament for all people.
I was surprised to learn that Dr King's journey was a long one even before civil rights movement, that he studied many schools of philosophical and religious thought. I was deeply impressed by his gifts with language, the ability to convey ideas in ways anyone can understand, and to inspire. Any writer could learn by studying his work.
If you are interested in human rights questions, I recommend reading this piece by piece, though it is a large volume. So much of what King said isn't limited to the movements of 50 years ago, but to the ongoing struggle for human dignity and equality.
What I like so much about editor James Washington's collection is its comprehensiveness. In a single volume, one finds MLK's thoughts on nonviolence, civil rights and integration, the Vietnam War and poverty, Christianity and social responsibility, and justice and morality. His ideas are conveyed here through essays, sermons, interviews, and lengthy, meaty excerpts from his five books. Everything that one could want is here, including what I personally take to be his very best work: "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (1963), "Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience" (1961), "A Christmas Sermon on Peace" (1967), "A Time to Break Silence" (1967), the "I Have a Dream" speech (1961), and Stride Toward Freedom's masterful discussion of the tactics and principles of nonviolence (1958).
Today, four decades after his death, the country is still struggling to grow into MLK's vision of reconciliation and nonviolence. One can only imagine how sad he would be at the post-9/11 turn toward militarism the nation has taken, the current wave of sentiment against Latino immigrants, the constant economic disparity between white households and African American ones, or the upswing in hate crimes against Muslims. In re-reading A Testament of Hope, I was reminded yet again of how very much we need a present-day prophet of King's caliber, vision, and courage, and of how very grateful I am that we once had King himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really like this book. The modern age has tried to define Martin Luther King as someone different than he really is. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ray Hollenbeck
This was so great that I had to buy several copies for other people. It is great to see the text of the speeches, letters and sermons in print. Fantastic resource.Published 5 months ago by MMJA
I will pass this book down to my children, grandchildren and great grand children.Published 8 months ago by Harriet L. Lee