The parallel lives and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy turn and intersect in this innovative double biography.
Murphy uses extensive primary sources to create intimate portraits—drawing on their words and thoughts when they were not in the public eye, experiences of their co-workers and friends, and the feelings of common people who heard them speak. In Part 1, April 1968, Martin prepares to march in Memphis with the Poor People’s Campaign, work that Bobby encouraged; Bobby has decided to run for president, a move that Martin privately condoned. Martin is shot and killed; Bobby must announce the news at a campaign rally in a black neighborhood. Part 2 moves back in to recount their different family histories, the questions they struggled with as leaders, the pressure they were under and the pressure they applied to achieve their goals, their respective growth as leaders in an increasingly divided nation, the moments before their assassinations, and the nation’s reactions. The presentation is objective yet flattering (the common people and co-workers consulted loved these men). The text ends with a call to action, comparing the 1960s to our current political situation. This book brings to life the high stakes involved in principled leadership and highlights the fact that effective leaders do not act in a vacuum but take on challenges because they are passionate about their causes.
Powerful, engaging, and enlightening. (author’s note, timeline, places to visit, notes, bibliography) (Biography. 12-16)