A touching memoir from an important figure in the civil rights movement.

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MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY LEGACY

A posthumous memoir by Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, told via a journalist, minister, and longtime friend.

In an afterward, Reynolds, a journalist and friend to Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) and a former USA Today editorial board member, offers the “making of her memoir,” which required many recorded interviews since her first article about King for the Chicago Tribune in 1975, with their formal contract signed in 1997. Overall, the tone is as gracious, elegant, and soft-spoken as the legendary Southern lady and concert singer, who was born in the deeply segregated town of Heiberger, Alabama, where her black family was regularly terrorized by whites, including the burning of her house when she was 15 years old. Resilient and fearless due to the example of her harassed father, King was inculcated in the Mount Tabor AME Zion church, where her grandfathers were leaders. Attending the Lincoln missionary school, she found her “escape route” from the South in multicultural Antioch College (Ohio), then followed her passion for classical music to the New England Conservatory, in Boston, where she met the “too short” and unprepossessing minister from Atlanta, MLK Jr. Coretta wanted to be a concert singer and live comfortably in the North, while Martin wanted her to be his wife and have children and move to Montgomery to fight desegregation with nonviolence. Eventually, she came around to embrace his ideals. While her memoir is very much her own journey, it is also about her collaboration with her husband, and she insists they both had a calling by God: “God appeared to have appointed Martin and me…to become the messengers.” The author does not countenance rumors that her husband was unfaithful, insisting that the FBI planted evidence as a smear campaign. In the end, her four children and her “fifth child,” the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, in Atlanta, remain her greatest legacies.

A touching memoir from an important figure in the civil rights movement.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-598-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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