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Publisher's Summary

A revealing collection that restores Dr. King as being every bit as radical as Malcolm X. 

Much of America did not know the radical King - and too few know today - but the FBI and US government did. They called him "the most dangerous man in America". 

"The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people. The response of the radical King to our catastrophic moment can be put in one word: revolution - a revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens." (From the introduction) 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in US history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became the most recognizable leader of the civil rights movement. But after more than 40 years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was. 

The Radical King includes 23 selections, curated and introduced by Dr. Cornel West, including essays and speeches that were never recorded for posterity - a revelation for King's legacy. 

The Martin Luther King Estate has allowed, for the first time, a dramatic interpretation of King's words by some of the most charismatic and activist actors working today: LeVar Burton, Mike Colter, Colman Domingo, Danny Glover, Gabourey Sidibe, Wanda Sykes, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Michael Kenneth Williams. 

In addition to the above, the full cast of narrators includes Bahni Turpin, Robin Miles, and Kevin Free. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Coretta Scott King and the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Cornel West (Introductions) (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"By handing over the lauded words of one of modern history's greatest writers and orators, Audible and Dr. West have made an object lesson of both the universality and the specificity of the human experience. From the mouths of all these performers, Dr. King's words gain a visceral clarity, a sharpness that makes it possible to understand that these speeches and sermons and essays are not historical record but living documents." (Paste Magazine)

What members say

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An Alternative View of Martin Luther King

A thought-provoking listen made enjoyable by the many famous actors who read key Martin Luther King Jr speeches, articles and letters, which show King in a more radical light. Here, you will find King's finest work "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and "Black Power" in which he discusses his feelings about using this as a slogan when Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) introduced it. Cornel West provides an introduction for each piece of King's writing providing an understanding of King's views in a radical context.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Remember Martin Luther King

50 years ago, an assassin killed Martin Luther King. King led the country through the ugliness of civil wrongs connected to the Vietnam War, and we remember him for his Gandhi-like leadership. What is forgotten is his weaponized non-violence and his belief in socialism. Americ beatifies our heroes, which is what we've done with MLK.

This book, edited by Cornel West, is a compilation of King's speeches. The words remind of why I so admired him. The audible version employs a wide variety of actors and actresses to read the King's words. I might have preferred to hear MLK, but this demonstrated that the real power is in words, not the speaker.

50 years later and his words are not dated. I would not be surprised to hear these speeches from Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

I miss his voice, his words, his leadership.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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A much fuller picture of an extraordinary human being

I was a young man when Dr. King was taken from us. As a man now in my early 70’s the Radical King brought me back to a time of discontent, with the perspective of over fifty years, which highlights his strength as a leader for all people and a man of vision, passion and faith. His message still rings loudly today and I am grateful for the sharing of his love, strength and non-violence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Was hoping for more analysis

There's a few pieces that I haven't heard already but honestly about half of the book seemed to be speeches that you can hear from King himself relatively easily.

I'd recommend for someone just learning about MLK - but if you've already read/ listened to his work it may not be the best use of your time.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Masterpiece - The Heart of America

If you could sum up The Radical King in three words, what would they be?

A must listen (or read)

What other book might you compare The Radical King to and why?

Ghandi - influential, the power of non-violent love.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Wish I could have just sat and listened attentively for eleven hours.

Any additional comments?

Should be on every human being's reading list.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Radical Indeed!

I thought that I knew almost everything about him, but I didn't. Encouraging, insightful, and really needed right now.

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  • JB5
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 09-23-18

Hearing Truth

Listen and feel the truth of radical love permeate your body and soul. The only way to deny it is to let the great eternal lie block your senses.

The radical revolution is as valid today as it was in the time of King.

Fifty years and this old white man still mourns his tragic death.



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A history retold!

Lovers of justice must read this history of a people from Dr. King's involved perspective.

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Interesting and informative

Cornel West offers a different perspective on a life we thought we already knew. Hearing Dr. King's story told through the lens of his well known and lesser known writings was very enlightening.

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  • MLHanna
  • Laingsburg, MI United States
  • 08-16-18

Will you carve out time to listen to a prophet?

His is the voice of conscience, of justice, and of love. Dr. King 's words have never held more weight. In the era of Trump, his observances are both a balm and a rallying cry. Make time for this. Revisit, and hear anew, this clarion call for peace with justice, and the reminder that what affects one, truly does affect us all.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-18

Radical love

Martin Luther King Jnr's radical love, the conscientious power of the civil rights movement and the power evident in Dr Wests deep love for King moved me to my tears on numerous occasions. Kings radical love has galvanised in me my commitment to the power of radical love in my own life and the communities to which I belong.