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Publisher's Summary

A revealing and dramatic chronicle of the 12 months leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.

Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times best-selling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations - denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few - all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.

Smiley's Death of a King paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life - one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2014 Tavis Smiley and David Ritz (P)2014 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

" Death of a King is a fitting climax to a noble saga. It is here adequately told and placed before history." (Reverend Gardner C. Taylor)
"Tavis Smiley has captured not only the spirit of the movement, but the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last days. We didn't realize it but he knew he was on his way to Jerusalem, and as much as we tried to deter him, he fought back." (Andrew Young, United States ambassador to the United Nations and former mayor of Atlanta)
"One of the most important political voices of his generation." ( The Philadelphia Inquirer)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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An important book

What made the experience of listening to Death of a King the most enjoyable?

This is a fascinating piece of history, read with simple conviction by the author. I could not imagine a different narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ernest
  • BROOKLYN, NY, United States
  • 10-10-14

An amazing tribute to the King Legacy

What made the experience of listening to Death of a King the most enjoyable?

The real story of King's final year will send chills down your spine, the betrayal by friends and the media, the depression, the imperfections of MLK and eventually the regicide give readers/listeners a tragic look into the life of one of Americas most heroic leaders.

Have you listened to any of Tavis Smiley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was his first performance

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book made me aware and put me at peace with the real legacy of MLK

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Just what I needed

I'm very glad I got this book. I like the style & the story. Very insightful. I'm going to do more research on the poverty campaign mentioned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sad but compelling....

The last year of King's life was overfull of hard times....both enemies and friends criticized him relentlessly. He began his campaign against the war in Vietnam, and the president who had helped Blacks gain civil rights was astounded because suddenly King was opposing him. So he fought back. And many of King's supporters and friends were adamantly opposed to King dividing his focus by taking on the war while still seeking equality for Blacks. King was under constant stress...at times he wept...at times he thought of quitting his work at the national level and retiring to a little church in the South, or even accepting an invitation to a church in the UK. Thoughts of death as well as threats of death were constantly with him. The story of his last year is one of a man pushing the boulder up the hill and suffering for every inch. It is a sad story, but it is a compelling story. Maybe we all need to know the story in order to fully honor King. The book is read by the author and he does an excellent job.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Art Guzman
  • San Marcos, TX United States
  • 07-06-18

Narrator killed it, in a bad way

The drama that MLK had to endure in his last year was revealing and sad. The narrator’s performance was the worst. His voice is just not suited for this kind of task.

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The best insight to the King I've read.<br />

This was valuable information. No one has spoken of Doc's journey in this detail. You feel the hatred from those who were assist him and you can see the fear, happiness, and determination of Doc in his last days. This is a must read. Thank you Tavis.

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Great listen

Great book it showed that Dr. King was more than I have a dream. Loved it

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Wow,Wow,Wow,Wow,Yes,Yes,Yes,amazing,$,$,$,:),:);)!

#Tavis4President2020 #The most Dynamic Voice of a generation or Several!! #TelltheTruth He must be allotted an opportunity to have his name cleared 2018!!!

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Amazing!!!

Thank you Travis for giving the reader an understanding of the character, perseverance, struggles and incredible conviction of this HERO! I am still reeling ! Thank you Dr. King!

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Poignant and riveting

This was a great remembrance of the man with the courage and fortitude to lead humanity!

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  • Simon James
  • 12-17-16

An fascinating and moving account of his last year

I always loved and respect led Dr King. He was much more than I Have a Dream. Travis Smiley wrote and narrated a moving and fascinating account of his last year.