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Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation (Anglais) Broché – 19 juin 2014


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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A must read 18 mai 2013
Par Don Johnson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This book could and should be required reading for High School students. It dissects MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and juxtaposes it with the sermons he was preaching in these times, in other words it give the "Letter" King's eloquent voice. It also establishes the timeline of events in detail for this turbulent historic era. Jonathan Rieder has taken one of the three most important documents in American history and explains it so that it lives, breathes and bleeds even more than the "Letter" did in 1963. Thank you Mr. Rieder and God bless Martin Luther King!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Great Living American Document Sensibly and Sensitively Examined 28 juin 2013
Par Rocco Dormarunno - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
If Dr. Martin Luther King had written nothing else, he would be remembered for his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"; that is how great this document is. It would and should be up there with "The Federalist Papers" and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, among other monumental tracts of American history. I have always said this to my students who, after reading this, ask me "Why wasn't this taught to us in high school? Why do we only know about the `I Have a Dream' speech?" Good questions.

Part of the reason has to do with the word "overshadowed" that appears so many times in reviews and analyses of this document. Dr. King had done so much, and said so much, for the cause of civil rights that his letter, while never ignored, never really got center stage or the bright spotlight. Nonetheless, as Professor Reider justifiably reminds us in his brilliant "Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation", the civil rights cause never got a more effective, erudite and emotional voice than "Letter from Birmingham Jail". The historic importance and background, as well as the literary merits of the letter, have finally been given a well-deserved and long-overdue analysis. (The section entitled "Everything the Nazis Did Was Legal" was espeiciall revelatory to me.)

Students of American history--and literature--as well as future generations will appreciate this book. On a personal level, I know that I will bring much from this book to my classroom and encourage my students to read it.

Rocco Dormarunno
The College of New Rochelle
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Gospel of Freedom...Letter from Birmingham Jail 18 mai 2013
Par C. Harris - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The book is a wonderfully delightful, powerful read. I felt as though I was transported back in time, sitting in the room with Dr. King and other civil rights leaders as they were speaking. I was inspired and educated. The history/event accounts and conversations taking place seem so very real and true to life. The history account is exceptional....very insightful. An enjoyable and educational read. I highly recommend it!
7 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
View of an icon 20 avril 2013
Par EWebb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Kings "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" is his second most famous work behind the "I Have A Dream" speech. Mr. Rieder gives a thorough examination to the less studied letter.

He tells us how the letter came about and the events that led up to King coming to Birmingham and being arrested. We find out that it was a planned rather than an off the cuff document. As we read it after understanding he events that led to its writing the author shows why this is one of the great writings in our nations history.

Rieder presents a raw and balanced view of King and how he was viewed at the time. Especially interesting is the view of many other of the civil rights leaders at the time that King, while wise and eloquent, was somewhat egotistical and only prone to go where he could grab the headlines. He was viewed as the leader of the movement but seen as not quite perfect as well. This is true of most heroes.

The book provokes thought and makes you read in amazement as you realize the state of racial relations fifty years ago.

The author weaves several interviews and the headlines of the day together throughout the book with the letter at the center of the story. There are some places where this gets a bit jumbled but it is story worthy of being retold and a book worthy of reading.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail 1 août 2013
Par Robin Friedman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This year, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of several key events from the civil rights era of 1963. The historical events include the March on Washington of August 28, 1963, with Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. They include as well the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" which Dr. King wrote in prison in April, 1963, in the middle of demonstrations against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Released in April, 2013 to coincide with the anniversary of the "Letter", Jonathan Rieder's book, "Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle that Changed a Nation", consists of a detailed analysis of the "Letter" and a discussion of its significance for King's work, including the Birmingham demonstrations and the later March. Rieder, professor of sociology at Barnard College, has written an earlier book on Dr. King, "The Word of the Lord is upon Me" (2008) together with an earlier book about the decline of political liberalism in the old Brooklyn neighborhood of Canarsie.

Rieder begins by placing the "Letter" in historical context. King had been asked to lead a boycott and demonstrations in Birmingham, which at the time was among the most violently racist cities in the United States. The boycott and supportive demonstrations had as their primary goal ending segregation in the stores. The demonstrations were delayed for negotiations which proved unsuccessful and then delayed further when the notorious "Bull" Connor, the Commissioner of Public Safety ran unsuccessfully for mayor. When the demonstrations were slow in gaining momentum and Connor and the police acted with a degree of restraint, King got himself arrested on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. While he was in jail, a group of eight Birmingham clergymen wrote a public letter critical of King and the Birmingham demonstrations. The letter urged a policy of moderation and gradualism. King wrote his "Letter", dated April 16, 1963, in response to the clergymen. But King clearly had a broader audience in mind. King was released from jail on April 20.

With this background, Rieder presents an exposition of the "Letter". (The text of the "Letter" is included in the book.) Most readers have viewed the letter as primarily a discussion of civil disobedience in the line of Thoreau. Rieder argues that the "Letter" is substantially broader in scope and that it is pivotal in understanding King. Rieder finds the "Letter" falls into roughly two parts and develops two themes. In the first part, the "Letter" shows King as a "diplomat" as he explains politely and eruditely to eight clergymen and to white "moderate" America, the reasons for his activities in Birmingham and their pressing importance. In the second part of the "Letter", King becomes not only a preacher but he also adopts the tone of a "prophet" rather than a "diplomat". This section of the letter is passionate, and emphasizes the need for righteousness, justice, commitment to fight evil, and the deep injustices segregation visited on African Americans. Rieder argues that in the "Letter", King emphasized African American self-help and advocated a position closer to the views of black nationalists, such as Elijah Muhammad, than is sometimes realized. Thus, under Rieder's analysis, the "Letter" and King saw the struggle for civil rights as more outside American culture, rather than as an extension and fulfillment of the American experience. This reading emphasizes the militant character of Dr. King's vision and work.

The analysis of the "Letter" takes up the body of Rieder's book. He follows it with a discussion of how King used, and modified, the "Letter" in a speech to African Americans upon his release from jail. The modified speech emphasizes even more than the "Letter" the need for African Americans to be responsible for their own destinies by nonviolent resistance of injustice. Rieder discusses the subsequent escalation of the Birmingham demonstrations. While King was in jail, his associates had decided to use children in the demonstrations because the commitment of the adults seemed to be waning. With the use of the children, "Bull" Connor lost control and brought out dogs and hoses. The resulting images of violence shocked the nation and the world. King and the city reached an agreement under which the segregation in Birmingham stores ended. There was further violence in the form of rioting from some demonstrators followed by brutality from the Alabama State Police. On September 15, 1963, racists bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham which had been home to much of the planning for the demonstrations. Four young African American girls were killed in the explosion.

In the final part of the book, Rieder argues that the themes of the "Letter", particularly its emphasis on African American self-help and its rejection of American exceptionalism, pervaded Dr. King's latter work, including the "I Have a Dream" speech. Rieder thus revises the frequently accepted interpretation of the "I Have a Dream" speech which sees King as placing his Dream within the American mainstream. Rieder also argues that the "Letter" includes themes that King developed in his later years, including his opposition to the War in Vietnam, and his increasing militance on matters of economics and poverty.

King's "Letter" has become a key document of the Civil Rights Movements as well as one of the most important works of 20th Century history. It is taught in countless high school and college courses in the United States and throughout the world. Rieder offers a thoughtful, provocative interpretation of King's "Letter", its history, and its continuing importance.

Robin Friedman
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