M.L. King had a way with words, and stated that the road would not be smooth nor broad leading to freedom. Most history books touch on the main events and people, but this book details others who worked endlessly and gave so much. I was impressed at the strength, courage, and determination, especially with knowing they would be threatened, jailed, beaten, and even killed. It's disturbing to read of the depth of inhumanity heaped upon the blacks in the south.
Really excellent book. I had to read it for class, but was really struck by it. My goal is to get my friends and family to read it now. If you like it, check out the accompanying video/documentary series of the same title on YouTube.
If I taught 20th century history I would include " Eyes On the Prize" as a key part of my course. High schools, colleges and Church groups should also use this book to guide any discussions on racism and the hisotry of the civil rights era. An excellent chronology with the necessary detail that lays out the start of the Civil rights journey through 1968. Well written, easily understood and based on facts this book identifies the long difficult fight for equality. The underlying truth that makes this book so good is that those who marched, conducted sit-ins and died used the US Constitution as the basis to right the wrongs of inequlaity and racism.
i especially like this book because, without bashing anybody, i think it allows those of us most often subject to the highlight reels, to get a glimpse at the humanity of the historical figures that we tend to glamorize. and that's certainly not to diminish anybody's accomplishments. but there's a certain kind of comfort and appreciation and hope in KNOWING that uncertainty and imperfection and HUMANness precludes GREATness... too.
By now the number of volumes written on the Civil Rights Movement could fill whole libraries. Yet fifteen years later, this book still stands as one of the best introduction to the early years of the movement. Books such as Taylor Branch's Pillar of Fire and Parting the Waters may cover the same era of 1954 to 1965; this book is a good introduction for those who may be intimidated by Branch's comprehensive volumes. Rather than trying to cover everything, the book takes its cues from the documentary series and examines a select set of pivotal moments of the movement: school desegregation, the Montgomery bus boycott, the march on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery march and others. Each chapter delves into the story of the events, but also fleshes out the areas between these momentous events, both telling the background and hearing the experiences of those there, in their own words. The book is readable, not the dry tone that many associate with history books. But most of all it gives the reader the chance to delve into an important part of American history in the second half of the 20th century. This is an excellent book that should be picked up by anyone wanting to get a sense of where America was moving in these pivotal eleven years.
I first read this book in college and it has stayed with me for the last 25 years. Through the various moves, I lost this book and am happy to have it back in my collection. When my children are old enough to read it, this will be the most important book they read and I hope it instills in them the same understanding of the potential for man's inhumanity to man as it instilled in me and I hope it keeps them keenly aware of when people begin to slide down that long and dangerous slippery slope. I also hope it teaches them the concept of true bravery and the value of fighting for something larger than oneself. In short, this book has the potential to make us all better people by exposing both the worst and the best that man can be. You can not read it and remain unchanged.