"Determined to broaden the lens through which people—and tomorrow's history—view the man, Sitkoff wrote King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop. The book's driven by the often uncelebrated, radical side of King, and it stressed King's dream has yet to be fully realized. It doesn't only focus on King's successes, but also his failures, both personally and as a leader. Over 234 pages, the book takes readers from King's birth in his parent's home in Georgia on Jan. 15, 1928, to his role in the desegregation movement and to his assassination—40 years ago today—on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, outside room 306, in Memphis . . . Sitkoff, who began writing the Pilgrimage about five years ago, agreed the presidential nomination battle between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton poses an interesting backdrop for his book . . . Drawn from four decades of teaching King, his personal connections to the man and a plethora of scholarly material, the work has been praised for its accessibility."—Adam D. Krauss, Foster's Daily Democrat"A marvelous read and striking achievement! This engrossing and perceptive biography offers a balanced yet critical analysis of both Martin Luther King Jr. and his epochal times in their full complexity."—Waldo Martin, U.C. Berkeley, author of No Coward Soldiers: Black Cultural Politics in Postwar America"In this richly accessible and commanding study, Harvard Sitkoff provides a timely reminder of the enduring significance of Martin Luther King's spiritual strivings and quest for social justice. A welcome contribution to the King canon, King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop brims with insights into the African American most emblematic of the modern Civil Rights Movement."—Darlene Clark Hine, Northwestern University"Drawing on his expertise in the history of the civil rights movement, Harvard Sitkoff has produced the finest brief biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. The man who emerges is not the homogenized King celebrated every January, but a radical critic of military adventurism and economic and racial injustice, who speaks to the present as powerfully as to his own time."—Eric Foner, Columbia University"King is a perfect combination of author and subject: one of the deans of civil rights history tracing the life of the movement’s towering figure. Harvard Sitkoff has performed a remarkable feat, giving us a biography of Martin Luther King that is simultaneously concise and complex, judicious and deeply moving. What a marvelous recounting of this most important of American stories."—Kevin Boyle, Ohio State University, author of the National Book Award-winning Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age"Sitkoff’s book on King reads like a dream. Packed with vibrant quotations from King himself, it becomes a living narrative of how this giant among American political leaders moved on his mission to serve his people and his God, undeterred by the fearsome obstacles strewn in his path by everyone from his own father to the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, to President Lyndon Johnson. A spellbinder, it brings all the good work of David Garrow and Taylor Branch to bear on understanding this critical figure of our time, and in less than 300 pages."—William Chafe, Duke University
Harvard Sitkoff is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire and the author or editor of more than eight books, including A New Deal for Blacks; The Struggle for Black Equality, 1945–1992 (H&W, 1993); and A History of Our Time.