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Hardcover Parting the Waters Book

ISBN: 0671460978

ISBN13: 9780671460976

Parting the Waters

(Book #1 in the America in the King Years Series)

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American civil rights movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations. Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Essential Reading on the Civil Rights Era

In his epic account of America during the Civil Rights Era, Taylor Branch provides a compelling portrait of the rise to prominence of Martin Luther King, Jr. This Pulitzer Prize winning book is historical narrative at its finest. Branch focuses on the life of King, the African American politics of the era, as well as the local, state, and national politics affecting the civil rights movement.Michael Luther King, Jr., was born to an elite African-American family on January 15, 1929. At the age of five, his father would change his and his son's names to Martin Luther King, in honor of Martin Luther after the elder King traveled to Germany. The younger King was raised with the highest of expectations. Highly unusual in his time, the King family had the means, through their powerful position as a leading Atlanta black family and through the enterprising and industrious ways of MLK, Sr., to put MLK, Jr. through college up to the level of earning a P.H.D. from Boston University. This education both shaped the younger King in the traditional ways of learning, as well as through the social contacts he gained, and through the experience of living in the relatively liberal north.In 1954 at the age of 25, two weeks after the Warren Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision in Brown, et al., v. Board of Education of Topeka, King gave his first sermon as pastor-designate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In taking this job, King was defying his father who wanted his son to eventually take over at his own church, Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. Moving into the deep south, and away from the elite black community of Atlanta, King was in for a rude awakening as he was exposed to the depths and strengths of entrenched racism.King soon rose to national prominence as the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). With the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat to a white man, the MIA mobilized the black community in Montgomery into what became the largest act of civil disobedience among blacks up to that time. Branch's account of the Montgomery bus boycott, like the entire book, is riveting. Through great bravery, hardship, and persecution, the blacks triumphed and the Montgomery buses were finally integrated. King was just one of many blacks who provided leadership and showed courage through this ordeal, but because of his skills as an orator and his position as the leader of the MIA, he found himself thrust into the national spotlight.The book culminates with the march on Washington in 1963, and the assassination of President Kennedy that same year. Throughout, King is portrayed as a brilliant leader, a fiery orator, a man willing to go to jail for what he believes in, and a man who is successfully and brilliantly riding the tides and changing currents of his times. However, Branch does not portray King as a solo operator. The events of the Civil Rights Era, starting

Comprehensive and moving

I was bored by historical books. That was until I opened the first page of Taylor Branch's book. His ability to mix history, narrative and personal descriptions of the people involded in the civil rights movement made my reading extremely enjoyable, informative and captivating. At times I wad moved to tears and almost no book has had that effect on me so far. The book does not only focus on M.L. King himself and all the other characters involved made me feel part of a broader struggle for more humanity. It has been months since I read the book and my first impressions have remained as strong, I would advice it to anyone who wants to have fun, to be moved and learn at the same time. The civil rights movement is an essential part of history, you should read the book for your personal development, that is, development of your mind and of your heart. Just wonderful!

Americans struggling for the right to be Americans

A compelling account of Americans struggling for the right to be Americans, and in the process ultimately defining what it means to BE American. Fighting against hulking Negro reluctance, bone chilling KKK terror, a hostile FBI, and an unsympthetic Federal Government the real life true grit story is at once great and humbling.

An Essential Part of Any Library

This is a book that truly merits the label "must reading." It played a role in changing my own thinking on politics and history when I first read it in the early 1990's. During my "College Republican" days, my view of Martin Luther King, Jr. was not especially favorable, and I was almost totally ignorant of the history and background of the civil rights movement. But after reading Taylor Branch's book, I could no longer shut my eyes to the hard truths to which he bears brilliant witness.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.

Well Arranged, Timeless Historic Overview

Branch's efforts to convey the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement under Martin Luther King, Jr., covering the watershed years is highly admirable, comprehensive and engaging. To read of this era (i.e., a movement defining an era) is to fully appreciate so many of the individual trials which culminated in some of the better aspects associated with self-empowerment, responsibility and the ultimate enrichment of those who, assuming risks against tremendous odds, lived to see some of the gratest triumphs in the history of our society.Well worth the Pulitzer, this book readily belongs alongside so many of the historic giants of American chronology. Strongly recommend
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