The King Years by Taylor Branch
Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement

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Taylor Branch, author of the acclaimed America in the King Years, introduces selections from the trilogy in clear context and gripping detail.

The King Years delivers riveting tales of everyday heroes who achieved miracles in constructive purpose and yet poignantly fell short. Here is the full sweep of an era that still reverberates in national politics. Its legacy remains unsettled; there are further lessons to be discovered before free citizens can once again move officials to address the most intractable, fearful dilemmas. This vital primer amply fulfills its author’s dedication: “For students of freedom and teachers of history.”

This compact volume brings to life eighteen pivotal dramas, beginning with the 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, and a decade-long movement at last secures the first of several landmark laws for equal rights. At the same time, the presidential nominating conventions were drawn into sharp and unprecedented party realignment.

In “King, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Nobel Peace Prize,” Branch details the covert use of state power for a personal vendetta. “Crossroads in Selma” 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. As Branch writes, King “pushed downward into lonelier causes until he wound up among the sanitation workers of Memphis.” A requiem chapter leads to his fateful assassination.

About Taylor Branch

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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.
Published January 8, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 226 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The chapters along the way hit all the watershed events: the Freedom Rides, the 1964 March on Washington, the murders of civil rights workers in Mississippi, the polarizing effect of the civil rights bill on the Republican and Democratic political conventions, FBI Director J.

Oct 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...

Publishers Weekly

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Branch (The Clinton Tapes) selects crucial scenes from his Pulitzer Prize–winning three-volume history, America in the King Years, to capture the turning points of the civil rights era.

Oct 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...

Entertainment Weekly

Pillar of Fire, the second work in a trilogy by Branch about King and his time (the first, Parting the Waters, won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1989), brings us back into his world to show us how much we've forgotten: quotidian acts of horror, the tortured heroism of Lyndon Johnson on b...

Feb 13 1998 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...


' And as a matter of fact, not enough recognition is given to the fact that Malcolm was most helpful to Dr. King.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Among the Mapuche tribe in the pampas of 19th-century Argentina, a British naturalist searches for the elusive Legibrerian hare - a species that the local Indians say has the ability to fly - in Cesar Aira’s surreal adventure tale.

Jan 21 2013 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...

Look At OKC

Just before giving a speech, he told a friend, “This could turn into something big.” “He was twenty-six,” says Branch, “and had not quite twelve years and four months to live.” Students, wishing to do something for the growing movement, began holding sit-ins.

Feb 24 2013 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...

Deseret News

The third and last volume in the famed trilogy on Martin Luther King's America, "At Canaan's Edge" is a huge book by Taylor Branch, and it's not a disappointment.

Feb 05 2006 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...

New Journal And Guide Online

And in the new book “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement” by Taylor Branch, you’ll read a well-known story from a new point of view.

Jan 17 2013 | Read Full Review of The King Years: Historic Mome...

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