Book details

King: A Life

Author: Jonathan Eig

King: A Life

King: A Life

About This Book

The first full biography in decades, King mixes revelatory and exhaustive new research with brisk and accessible storytelling to forge the definitive life for our times.

Page Count
688
On Sale
05/16/2023

Book Details

The first full biography in decades, King mixes revelatory and exhaustive new research with brisk and accessible storytelling to forge the definitive life for our times.

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.—and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. As he follows MLK from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father—as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr.

In this landmark biography, Eig gives us an MLK for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, a perplexing husband and father, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Includes 8 pages of black-and-white photographs

Imprint Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN

9780374719678

In The News

"The first major biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in over a generation, King is a major achievement. With eloquence, compassion, and grace, Jonathan Eig offers a stirringly contemporary and complex portrait of a fully human—and humane—King, whose contradictions, frailties, and shortcomings worked in tandem with his brilliance, resilience, and genius to fundamentally transform American democracy and the world. King brilliantly recovers the defiantly courageous, radically democratic, and revolutionary anti-racist, anti-poverty, and anti-war activist who inspired as much hate and revulsion as he did love and compassion. A resounding triumph." —Peniel E. Joseph, professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Sword and the Shield

“Jonathan Eig's book is the most comprehensive and original King biography to appear in over 35 years. Digitization and the web have made a slew of new documentary resources available, and Eig has mined them superbly. He is thus able to paint the first 25 years of King's life more richly than ever before, and to offer fuller portraits of three of the most important people in King's adult life: his wife Coretta and his closest male and female companions, Ralph Abernathy and Dorothy Cotton. The result is a great leap forward in our biographical understanding.” David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

“With the detective mind of an historian, the lyrical precision of a poet, and the techniques of a master storyteller, Jonathan Eig makes Martin Luther King, Jr. come alive as a complex personality. He retrieves King’s extraordinary gifts, incurable optimism, and amazing heroism as a leader while not ignoring his frailties, doubts, and vulnerabilities. This book is a perceptive and necessary contribution to the biography genre in King studies.” Lewis V. Baldwin, author of The Arc of Truth: The Thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Jonathan Eig’s King is an exemplary masterclass in biography: Eig's knowledge of the subject matter is scholarly, his discovery of new and untapped historical sources is relentless, and his prose is gripping. This is a captivating story of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: a child scarred by pervasive racism, a man haunted by racist violence and death threats, a minister hunted by his own federal government, a human being afflicted by all-too-common human frailties, and a citizen who somehow managed to have an uncommon Christian faith and the courage to speak truth to power. Eig’s King is not just a welcomed contribution to MLK biography, but also a call to confront our own humanity, and a summons to bear witness against the societal evils that plagued King’s time and persist in our own." —Dr. Lerone A. Martin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

About the Creators

King: A Life

King: A Life