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The Radical King by Martin Luther King Jr.

The Radical King (2015)

by Martin Luther King Jr., Cornel West (Editor)

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Radical King is a great look at the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. The wisdom King bestows is relevant, even in today's society. I would encourage everyone to read The Radical King. ( )
  UnionGospelMission | Apr 6, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Cornel West has produced a gold mine of King''s wisdom, touching on aspects of the man's legacy that often don't get the coverage or attention they deserve. I have long admired and sought out the anti-war and anti-imperialism in Dr. King's body of work and it is wonderful to have some of the best collected here. ( )
  JKennethJ | Jun 17, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"King and Mandela are the two towering public figures in the past fifty years in the world. Both have been Santa-Clausified - tamed, domesticated, sanitized, and sterilized - into nonthreatening and smiling old men with toys in their bags and forgiveness in their hearts. yet both were radical and revolutionary. They were hunted, hated, and hurt by the powers that be. And both had radical love."

The above quote was written by Cornel West to introduce a section of The Radical King, which is a collection of speeches and writings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As the quote and title suggest, this collection went beyond the feel-good stuff most people are familiar with and dug deep into the way King actually was: hated by the police, the government, and a large percentage of the populace.

King was not a Marxist, as many anti-King people will tell you. He didn't believe capitalism was particularly successful in the world he lived in, but his goal was to reform and not replace it. One of the essays is both a long critique of capitalism and a condemnation of communism:

"The revolution of values must go beyond traditional capitalism and Communism. We must honestly admit that capitalism has often left a gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, has created conditions permitting necessities to be taken from the many to give luxuries to the few, and has encouraged smallhearted men to become cold and conscienceless so that, like Dives before Lazarus, they are unmoved by suffering, poverty-stricken humanity. The profit motif, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspire men to be more I-centered than thou-centered. Equally, Communism reduces men to a cog in the wheel of the state."

I learned a lot of things in this book, including King's real opinions on violent versus non-violent protest (hint: it's not what you think) and, yes, a lot of his thoughts on economic reform.

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring."

I would certainly recommend this thought-provoking and beautifully written collection by one of the wisest men the world has known. ( )
  agnesmack | Jun 8, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
'The Radical King' is an excellent and timely book. The best part is how clearly Dr. King's voice comes off the page. The worst part is realizing how many of the issues that Dr. King raises are still relevant today. It highlights both the progress that has been made, but, more importantly, the progress that still needs to be made in fighting for racial and economic equality.
  arcadia123 | Apr 23, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am so glad this book was published. I feel like I could write an essay about it, but I'll keep it to a review. With all the portrayals of MLKjr we encounter, it's easy to forget just how radical he was. That kind of radicalism, though, is so different from the kind we know today. Rather than focus on violence and attacking other people, MLKjr was radical in his belief of working together as much as possible. It was refreshing to (re)read some of these speeches and essays given current events. That said, however, I am also glad that MLKjr's more aggressive messages were included. While he preached non-violence, he was not subdued or quiet about his message.

I'm happy that Cornel West edited this book and arranged it so that readers can see themes in MLKjr's work. I also appreciate that West hints at the relationship that Malcolm X and MLKjr had because it is so often overlooked/ignored/forgotten.
  esnanna | Apr 21, 2016 |
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Martin Luther King Jr.primary authorall editionscalculated
West, CornelEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807012823, Hardcover)

A revealing collection that restores Dr. King as being every bit as radical as Malcolm X
Every year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in US history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became one of the most recognizable leaders of the civil rights movement. But after more than forty years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was. Arranged thematically in four parts, The Radical King includes twenty-one selections, curated and introduced by Cornel West, that illustrate King’s revolutionary Christian vision as a democratic socialist, underscoring his identification with the poor, his unapologetic opposition to the Vietnam War, and his crusade against global imperialism.
The King Legacy is a partnership between the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Beacon Press. Beacon has published Dr. King’s most important writings and orations, and has worked with leading scholars and civil rights activists, who have delved into archives, to create entirely new books.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:58 -0400)

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