Thursday, March 14, 2013

(Not Really) The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr. Is An Informative Biography On The Leader, Not The Man.

The Good: Well-written, Strong narrative, Organized and readable to present a clear story of how one man changed the civil rights movement.
The Bad: Very little personal information/insight into the man
The Basics: The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr., compiled post-mortem, is an engaging narrative of the Civil Rights leader, with little insight into the man.

Honestly, when I sat down to consider reviewing The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr., I was at a bit of a loss. The 366 page hardcover is an engaging narrative, but it is remarkably straightforward with its strengths and its weaknesses. The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr. was edited by Clayborne Carson after the death of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and it represents the most concise narrative in (mostly) Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own words.

The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr. tells the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. After a very brief exploration of his youth, being raised by a pastor, Martin Luther King, Jr. meets Coretta Scott and marries. After extensive studies, he went to Montgomery, Alabama, where he became a minister who was at the flashpoint of the bus boycott there. After helping to organize the bus strike which was a pivotal moment in American history for civil rights, Martin Luther King, Jr. leads the Civil Rights movement to bring equality for black people in the United States.

And if one wants to read a book that is essentially a blueprint on how to organize a civil disobedience campaign, The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr. is an engaging way to get such information.

What is not strong in the book is anything personal about Martin Luther King, Jr. Throughout the book, Martin Luther King, Jr. focuses on the movement with almost no ramifications to his personal life. The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr. mentions Coretta Scott as more of an afterthought than a co-leader of the movement. In fact, as the trials and tribulations of Martin Luther King, Jr. increase, Coretta Scott King is marginalized and there is almost no affect on the subject of the biography.

The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr. is good, but one is left with a somewhat inhuman portrayal of the civil rights leader. He stands for his people, but has almost no emotional depth and that level of sacrifice reads as very sad, even though he delivered the necessary results.

For other memoirs or biographies, please visit my reviews of:
Keeping Faith – Jimmy Carter
The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin
When You Are Engulfed In Flames – David Sedaris


For other book reviews, please check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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