HOUSE DIVIDED: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King by Lionel Lokos

HOUSE DIVIDED: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King

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Much of this book is devoted to the evils of the black power movement and King's failure to dissociate himself from it emphatically enough for the author's taste. Guilt by association is not always an invalid concept; but in this case it is valueless in exploring King's actions and beliefs. Lokos is a conservative who instead of welcoming reformist civil rights leaders' efforts to ameliorate present structures without transfer of power, snipes at King with a Toledanoesque contempt for consistency and a total absence of sociological analysis. He chronicles King's career from Montgomery and Selma through the fiascos of Albany and Chicago to Memphis. His view of the Communist Party and the Nation magazine as the heart of the Left, his emphasis on King's ""disdain for compromise,"" and his claim that a tardy antiwar stand brought King into Ho's arms all spectacularly miss the point, submerging his arguable contentions that King was more often a mistrusted outsider than a mass leader, but an adept practitioner of political blackmail. Lokos does not pretend concern about Negro living conditions, nor hesitate to throw in the white-immigrants-made-it chestnut. Most of all he dismisses without refutation King's argument that conscience can and must override immoral law. Unrewarding even for a receptive audience.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1968
Publisher: Arlington House