It took me a while to finish biography of Martin Luther King by Stephen Oates, not because it was boring or even difficult, but just because it was dense with information. Growing up in the 1970s, I thought I knew all about the civil rights movement because it was constantly referenced, and I was able to follow the references. Over time, though, I realized that my knowledge of the period was terribly shallow. This book has been quite a help in fleshing out the outline I'm familiar with with details I was not so familiar with. The MLK who was an enemy of racial injustice is well-remembered; the MLK who was an enemy of economic injustice is nearly forgotten, and the MLK who vehemently opposed the war in Vietnam has utterly disappeared, I think.
The parts of this book that trace the conduct of the war in Vietnam and opposition to it are eerily reminiscent of what's currently going on with the war in Iraq. It is just crazy how history repeats and nothing changes.
Well, not nothing. Barack Obama is another public figure with a remarkable ability to move his audience with oratory, but he is running for president, a path MLK rejected.