Monday, January 15, 2007

For MLK, Jr. Day: A Book Worth Reading

My view of Dr. King and the civil rights movement was profoundly changed after reading Parting the Waters. It's more than just a biography of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Taylor Branch's thousand-page effort won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction. As aptly noted in one review of the book, it "profiles the key players and events that helped shape the American social landscape following World War II but before the civil-rights movement of the 1960s reached its climax. The author then goes a step further, endeavoring to explain how the struggles evolved as they did by probing the influences of the main actors while discussing the manner in which events conspired to create fertile ground for change."

To have any substantial sense of the civil rights era, this book is a must read.