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Death of a King

The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year
Narrated by: Tavis Smiley
Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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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.

©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)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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  • Mr X
  • 19-02-15

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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  • Ernest
  • 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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  • Cheryl Aichele
  • 11-05-15

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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  • Doug
  • 17-10-14

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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  • Lynette Parker
  • 09-07-19

So enlightening

I am so appreciative of this book. I was able to grasp the struggle that Dr. King endured in his last year. It makes sense why this book did not fair well. The truth was exposed and it was not pretty.

Thank you Tavis. Thank you for educating us

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  • Vincent K.
  • 26-04-19

The story behind the man, the figure, the legend!

This book shows Dr. King's human struggles and internal fortitude for the cause of the world, his nation and most of all his people.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-04-19

Disappointed

I like Tavis Smiley in general and was hoping to like this title. Unfortunately, it was really just a bunch of guesses as to King's emotional state leading up to his death. I couldn't finish it.

I was hoping for something more historical about what King was going through towards the end, with maybe a focus on some of his more anti-imperialist discourse. Instead what I got was an attempt at emotional recreation told from a strange perspective. Maybe I wanted something more factual and less personal.

You might enjoy this still, but be forewarned that this is not an actual historical text.

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  • Jeremy
  • 25-01-19

Excellent book on the true legacy of Doc!

This is a must read for any lover of history and what it means to be an American. It's scary to see such simularities in the experiences Doc had in his final year that we are still struggling with as a nation today.

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  • Art Guzman
  • 06-07-18

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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  • Floyd Harvey
  • 28-05-18

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.