Martin Luther King, Jr.: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Martin Luther King, Jr.

2nd Edition

By Peter J. Ling


382 pages

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Peter Ling’s acclaimed biography of Martin Luther King Jr provides a thorough re-examination of both the man and the Civil Rights Movement, showing how King grew into his leadership role and kept his faith as the challenges facing the movement strengthened after 1965. Ling combines a detailed narrative of Martin Luther King’s life with the key historiographical debates surrounding him and places both within the historical context of the Civil Rights Movement.

This fully revised and updated second edition includes an extended look at Black Power and a detailed analysis of the memorialization of King since his death, including President Obama’s 50th anniversary address, and how conservative spokesmen have tried to appropriate King as an advocate of colour-blindness.

Drawing on the wide-ranging and changing scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement, this volume condenses research previously scattered across a larger literature. Peter Ling's crisp and fluent style captures the drama, irony and pathos of King's life and provides an excellent introduction for students and others interested in King, the Civil Rights movement, and America in the 1960s.


Praise of the first edition:

'Peter Ling's Martin Luther King, Jr. is a thoughtful, perceptive, and thoroughly well-informed work of scholarship. It is an excellent treatment of an impressive and inspiring human being.' David J. Garrow, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bearing the Cross

'This is the best compact biography of Martin Luther King available. With skill and insight, Peter Ling tells the story of King's life within the context of the evolving civil rights movement.' Jim Ralph, Middlebury College

'Peter Ling's biography of Martin Luther King Jr. is a singular accomplishment. What other distinguished scholars have written in mammoth volumes, Ling has carefully and succinctly presented in a highly readable and perceptive brief book.' Stephen Lawson, Rutgers University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. Junior – becoming Martin Luther King, 1929-55 3. Loving your enemies: Montgomery, 1955-9 4. Finding his way, 1960-2 5. Let the children come to me: Birmingham, 1963 6. Along a tightrope, 1963-4 7. Across a bridge of mistrust: Selma to Montgomery, 1964-5 8. King’s Call: organizing and mobilizing Chicago, 1965-6, Shrinking options: "Black Power" and Vietnam, 1966-7 10. Going for broke: Memphis, 1968 11. Epilogue: In Memoriam – remember King

About the Author

Peter J. Ling is Professor of American Studies in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. His previous works include the edited collection, Gender and the Civil Rights Movement, (2004), a history of the Democratic Party (2004) and a biography of John F. Kennedy (2013).

About the Series

Routledge Historical Biographies

Routledge Historical Biographies are concise, accessible introductions to key historical figures. Written by experts in their fields they are designed to help students either starting out on a course, or revising before exams. Far from being dry, academic texts however, they are also perfect, affordable books for the history buff.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / General