Review by Choice Review
Book-length studies of single speeches are rare, but this is such a one. Author of several other books on related subjects, including the outstanding To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature (CH, Jun'93, 30-5455), Sundquist (literature, Univ. of California, Los Angeles) weaves together history and rhetorical criticism to offer a compelling account of Martin Luther King Jr.'s August 28, 1963, "I have a dream" speech, which was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial and climaxed that day's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The author explores the antecedents and planning for the event in detail, and the speech itself receives an insightful, close critical reading. The book includes extensive endnotes and an excellent name and subject index. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. P. E. Kane emeritus, SUNY College at Brockport
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
To this day, nobody knows what prompted Martin Luther King Jr. to depart from his prepared remarks during the August 28, 1963, March on Washington and deliver what is probably the most famous impromptu speech in American history. Was it the realization that the 40-year-old preacher from Atlanta hadn't yet connected with his audience? Was it the manifest destiny he felt as a child, that one day he would "have me some big words" like the preacher of his own church? Or was it the provocation of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who called to King to "Tell 'em about the dream, Martin!" According to Sundquist (To Wake the Nation), not even the master orator could put a finger on his extemporization. "I started out reading the speech," King recalled, then "all of a sudden this thing came out of me." The author investigates the origin of King's powerful words and places them in the context of JFK's political maneuverings, the powerful new medium of television news and the complicated strategy behind the simple march. Exhaustively researched, this book delivers an exegesis of the speech and a captivating account of King's motivations and turbulent times. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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