Wolfner :: Recommended Readings :: Adult Bibliographies :: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Updated January 2016

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An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King by William Pepper
Download An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King DB 57706 
Read by David Cutler. Reading time: 13 hours, 46 minutes. 

Unofficial explanation offered for the assassination of author's friend and colleague, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Detailing suspicious events leading up to King's 1968 murder, Pepper argues that convicted James Earl Ray was framed and that King instead was felled by a complex conspiracy involving the Memphis police, FBI, and organized crime. 2003.


April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America by Michael Eric Dyson
Download April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America DB 66789 
Read by Bill Quinn. Reading time: 7 hours, 12 minutes

Georgetown University professor and author of I May Not Get There with You (RC 64510) continues his analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence in America. Shares his assessment of racial progress while discussing the leadership roles and flaws of African Americans Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama. 2008.


Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David J. Garrow
Download Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. DB 25530 
Read by Harold Parker. Reading time: 42 hours, 23 minutes. 

Definitive biography of the driven, courageous minister and civil rights leader who changed the South and the nation. Includes numerous details from FBI documents that cover various activities of King and his associates.


A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download A Call to Conscience DB 62330 
Read by Jr. Martin Luther King. Reading time: 7 hours, 37 minutes.

Collection of eleven speeches made by King. Includes "The Birth of a New Nation," which helped galvanize the civil rights movement, the famous "I Have a Dream," and his final oration, "I've Been to the Mountaintop." Each speech is introduced by a well-known leader, activist, or theologian. Commercial audiobook. 2001.


At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 by Taylor Branch
Download At Canaan's Edge DB 61997 
Read by Ralph Lowenstein. Reading time: 45 hours, 32 minutes.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author continues his chronicle of the civil rights movement in America. Covers events beginning with the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, through Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968. Follows Pillar of Fire (DB 45816) and Parting the Waters (DB 29759). Violence and strong language. Bestseller. 2006.


The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Drew D. Hansen
Download The Dream  DB 58666 
Read by Bruce Huntey. Reading time: 6 hours, 38 minutes.

Hansen's essay on the meaning of the 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech describes King as a master of the art of black homiletics, whose gifts had been little known beyond the pulpit and the civil rights movement. Explores the oration's spontaneity, language, prophetic vision, and public reaction. 2003.


Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign by Michael K. Honey
Download Going Down Jericho Road DB 66008 
Read by Frank Coffee. Reading time: 23 hours, 56 minutes.

Chronicles the dramatic events in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, concerning the sanitation workers' strike for union rights that led to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Assesses the strikers' impact on the civil rights movement. Includes oral histories of participants. 2007.


Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides
Download Hellhound on His Trail DB 71357 
Read by Jim Zeiger. Reading time: 17 hours, 34 minutes. 

Author of Blood and Thunder (DB 64017) and Ghost Soldiers (DB 52290) investigates Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 murder in Memphis. Traces escaped prisoner James Earl Ray's stalking of the civil rights leader and the transoceanic search that led to his capture. Some violence and some strong language. 2010.


I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. by Michael Eric Dyson
Download I May Not Get There with You DB 64510 
Read by Christopher Hurt. Reading time: 18 hours, 7 minutes.

Reexamination of the life, legend, and legacy of peace activist Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968). Asserts King possessed human flaws--plagiarism and promiscuity--yet emphasizes King's political and social views, including opposition to the Vietnam War, criticism of economic inequality, and encouragement of black pride. Addresses the commercialization of King's legacy. 2000.


Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws that Changed America by Nick Kotz
Download Judgment Days DB 66592 
Read by Peter Johnson. Reading time: 22 hours, 58 minutes.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist details the partnership between Johnson and King that enabled the passing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 1965, and 1968. Stresses that the men's common values, love of the South, and belief in American democracy fostered their success despite their division over the Vietnam War. 2005.


Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Gerald L. Posner
Download Killing the Dream DB 48164 
Read by Jeff Baker. Reading time: 17 hours, 55 minutes.

Reexamination of King's murder in Memphis in 1968, the background of convicted killer James Earl Ray, and some conspiracy theories about the case. The lawyer-author's analysis of the murder scene and of Ray's character, criminal record, and probable motivation leads to the conclusion that Ray was the shooter and killer.


A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download A Knock at Midnight DB 62329 
Read by Martin Luther King Jr. Reading time: 7 hours, 43 minutes.

Eleven of King's sermons, including his earliest recorded homily "Rediscovering Lost Values" and "Remaining Awake during a Great Revolution," delivered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., just days before his assassination. Each sermon is introduced by well-known ministers such as the Reverend Billy Graham and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Commercial audiobook. 1998.


The Measure of a Man by Martin Luther King  Jr.
Download The Measure of a Man DB 42398
Read by Gordon Gould. Reading time: 38 minutes. 
Two meditations by the well-known American civil rights leader: "What Is Man?" and "The Dimensions of a Complete Life," plus an excerpt from his April 3, 1968, speech. King calls upon his Christian heritage as he reflects on the nature of human existence and the moral duties of the individual.


A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination by Clay Risen
Download A Nation on Fire DB 70478 
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time: 9 hours, 57 minutes.

Details the riots that followed the April 4, 1968, assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Discusses the turmoil that erupted in major American cities and led President Lyndon B. Johnson to call in federal troops to supplement the local police and national guard. Some strong language. 2009.


Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 by Taylor Branch
Download Parting the Waters DB 29759 
Read by Ralph Lowenstein. Reading time: 48 hours, 5 minutes.

Wide-ranging chronicle of a turbulent decade when the civil-rights movement launched its determined, nonviolent battle for America's social conscience and soul. Branch focuses on the period that begins with Martin Luther King's 1954 arrival as pastor of Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and ends with the assassination of President Kennedy.


Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65 by Taylor Branch
Download Pillar of Fire DB 45816
Read by Ralph Lowenstein. Reading time: 34 hours, 34 minutes. 

This second volume continues the narrative history of the civil rights movement in the United States begun in Parting the Waters (DB 29759). Covers the pivotal years of 1963-1965, including the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Portrays Martin Luther King Jr. upholding the nonviolent movement. Bestseller.


Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download Strength to Love DB 44735
Read by John Stratton. Reading time: 5 hours, 43 minutes. 

Fifteen sermons by the African American pastor who dedicated his life to civil rights. Three were written in Georgia prisons, and all express Dr. King's Christian views and his application of biblical truths to intellectual uncertainties, emotional involvements, and spiritual weaknesses.


A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download A Testament of Hope DB 42395
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time: 33 hours, 24 minutes.

Collects documents generally recognized as composed or presented by the 1960s American civil rights leader, who championed nonviolent tactics. Entries are grouped by genre: philosophy, sermons and public addresses, essays, interviews, and books. The table of contents gives the date of each entry. Editor James M. Washington provides a general introduction and notes.


The Trumpet of Conscience by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Download The Trumpet of Conscience DB 43333
Read by Bob Moore. Reading time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.

These five essays, delivered as radio lectures by King in November and December 1967, portray a nightmarish America of reality and the egalitarian America of his visions. They express his hopes for the future of nonviolence as a means to social revolution even in a climate of riot.

Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Download Why We Can't Wait DB 21674
Read by P. Jay Sidney. Reading time: 5 hours, 27 minutes.

The black pastor and civil rights leader wrote this now-classic account four years before his assassination. He reviews the background of the civil rights demands that culminated in the March on Washington in 1963. With deep conviction he defends the justice and practicality of nonviolence as a weapon for winning not only civil and human rights but also world peace. 1963.