More than a biography, To the Mountaintop is the history of a turbulent epoch that changed the course of American and world history. Moral warrior and nonviolent apostle; man of God rocked by fury, fear, and guilt; rational thinker driven by emotional and spiritual truth -- Martin Luther King Jr. struggled to reconcile these divisions in his soul. Here is an intimate narrative of his intellectual and spiritual journey from cautious liberal, to reluctant radical, to righteous revolutionary. Stewart Burns draws not only on King's speeches, letters, writings, and well-reported strategizing and activities, but also on previously underutilized oral histories of key meetings and events, which present a dramatic account of King and the movement in the crucial years from 1955 to 1968.
In a striking departure from earlier books on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, Burns focuses on King's biblical faith and spiritual vision as fundamental to his political leadership and shows how these threads wove together a "single garment of destiny," making King the most important social prophet of the twentieth century. King is not portrayed as a lone exalted hero, butas the heart of a fabric of principled leadershipthat stretched from his closest colleagues to the movement's foot soldiers on the streets. This book stresses his shaping by other leaders -- heroic figures such as Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, James Bevel, Bob Moses, and Marian Wright Edelman -- and his conflicted relationships with John and Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
To the Mountaintop is uniquely powerful in presenting actual conversations between King and others, and in showing how King's public words often revealed his private torment. Burns provides a uniquely realist portrait of King and the civil rights movement by revealing the vital but neglected religious character of the story, and by demonstrating how King profoundly experienced the movement as a sacred mission following a path of liberation and sacrifice pioneered by Moses and Jesus.
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Stewart Burns edited the third volume of the King Papers, Birth of a New Age, and has written the only published history of the Montgomery bus boycott, Daybreak of Freedom. He was a consultant on the award-winning HBO dramatic film Boycott, based on his book. Previously at Stanford University, he now teaches at College of the Redwoods in northern California.From Publishers Weekly:
Drawing on oral histories, documents and major world events, this intimate new biography chronicles the civil rights leader's struggles with faith and leadership from his days as a novice minister until his assassination in 1968. Burns, the former editor of the King Papers Project at Stanford, asserts that King often saw himself as an unworthy Moses and increasingly drew upon his biblical faith to shape his role in the nonviolence movement. Burns also examines the influence of notable figures on King's life, from Bayard Rustin and Malcolm X to Gandhi and Robert F. Kennedy. Without ever resorting to deification or criticism, he quotes from King's public conversations and speeches, then presents the man's private doubts on everything from LBJ's war against poverty to the Nation of Islam movement, many of which are culled from interviews with Coretta Scott King, Rustin and other trusted advisers. Pivotal events like the Montgomery bus boycott, the Vietnam War and the March on Washington are brought alive through narratives that show their impact on King's path of righteousness. Burns's` ear for dialogue and attention to details-the shiny green Chevy King's parents bought him upon graduation from divinity school, the arduous shaving process often blamed for his tardiness-help keep the book from spiraling into dry textbook formula. It's a thought-provoking examination of the inner struggles of a widely covered public figure, and its thorough research and insights should help it stand out among the slew of other King biographies on the shelves.
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Book Description HarperOne, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110060750545
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