Taylor Branch, author of the acclaimed America in the King Years, introduces selections from the trilogy in clear context and gripping detail to bring to life the essential moments of the Civil Rights Movement.
The enhanced eBook showcases additional videos and music throughout the text, making it a rich multimedia learning experience. Such resources include film of Walter Cronkite interviewing President Kennedy, King discussing his early plans for sustained demonstrations in Birmingham, b-roll of sit-in demonstrations, and tracks of Freedom songs.
This compact volume delivers eighteen riveting tales of the everyday heroes who achieved miracles and transformed America, yet poignantly fell short. Here is the full sweep of an era that still reverberates in national politics.
The King Years begins with an impromptu speech that turned an untested, twenty-six-year-old Martin Luther King forever into a public figure on the first night of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Five years later, minority students filled the jails in a 1960 sit-in movement, and, in 1961, the Freedom Riders seized national attention.
Branch interprets King’s famous speech at the 1963 March on Washington, then relives the Birmingham church bombing that challenged his dream of equal souls and equal votes. We see student leader Bob Moses mobilize college volunteers for Mississippi’s 1964 Freedom Summer. In “Crossroads in Selma,” Branch describes King’s ordeal to steer the battered citizen’s movement through hopes and threats from every level of government. “Crossroads in Vietnam” glimpses the ominous wartime split between King and President Lyndon Johnson. As backlash shadowed a Chicago campaign to expose northern prejudice, and the Black Power slogan of Stokely Carmichael captivated a world grown weary of nonviolent protest, King grew ever more isolated. A requiem chapter leads to his fateful assassination.
Taylor Branch is the bestselling author of Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63; Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65; At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968; and The Clinton Tapes. He has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
“Right out of the pages of our lives….Compelling portraits placed in the excitement of a period when oppressed and powerless people moving together changed themselves and their country profoundly and permanently.”
– The New York Times
“In remarkable, meticulous detail, Branch provides us with the most complex and unsentimental version of King and his times yet produced.”
– The Wall Street Journal
“There will be the inevitable comparisons to Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln and Shelby Foote’s The Civil War, two other masterworks that use the grand sweep of history to lay barethe nation’s soul.”