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No issue in America in the 1960s was more vital than civil rights, and no two public figures were more crucial in the drama of race relations in this era than Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Fifty years after they were both assassinated, noted journalist David Margolick explores the untold story of the complex and ever-evolving relationship between these two No issue in America in the 1960s was more vital than civil rights, and no two public figures were more crucial in the drama of race relations in this era than Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Fifty years after they were both assassinated, noted journalist David Margolick explores the untold story of the complex and ever-evolving relationship between these two American icons. Assassinated only sixty-two days apart in 1968, King and Kennedy changed the United States forever, and their deaths profoundly altered the country's trajectory. As trailblazers in the civil rights movement, leaders in their respective communities, and political powerhouses with enormous personal appeal, no single pairing of white and black ever mattered more in American history. In The Promise and the Dream, Margolick examines their unique bond and the complicated mix of mutual assistance, impatience, wariness, awkwardness, antagonism and admiration that existed between the two, documented with firsthand interviews from close sources, oral histories, FBI files, and previously untapped, contemporaneous newspaper accounts. At a turning point in social history, MLK and RFK embarked on distinct but converging paths toward lasting change. Even when they weren't interacting directly, they monitored and learned from, one another. Yet the distance they maintained from one another reflected much broader tensions between the races in the United States, and their nearly simultaneous deaths embodied the nation's violent predilections and ongoing racial turmoil. Their joint story, a story each man took some pains to hide and which began to come into focus only with their murders, is not just gripping history but a window into contemporary America and the challenges we continue to face. Complemented by eighty-three revealing photographs by the foremost photojournalists of the period, The Promise and the Dream offers a compelling look at one of the most consequential but misunderstood relationships in our nation's history. "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." --Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967 "In this difficult day, in this difficult time... It is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in." --Robert F. Kennedy, 1968


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No issue in America in the 1960s was more vital than civil rights, and no two public figures were more crucial in the drama of race relations in this era than Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Fifty years after they were both assassinated, noted journalist David Margolick explores the untold story of the complex and ever-evolving relationship between these two No issue in America in the 1960s was more vital than civil rights, and no two public figures were more crucial in the drama of race relations in this era than Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Fifty years after they were both assassinated, noted journalist David Margolick explores the untold story of the complex and ever-evolving relationship between these two American icons. Assassinated only sixty-two days apart in 1968, King and Kennedy changed the United States forever, and their deaths profoundly altered the country's trajectory. As trailblazers in the civil rights movement, leaders in their respective communities, and political powerhouses with enormous personal appeal, no single pairing of white and black ever mattered more in American history. In The Promise and the Dream, Margolick examines their unique bond and the complicated mix of mutual assistance, impatience, wariness, awkwardness, antagonism and admiration that existed between the two, documented with firsthand interviews from close sources, oral histories, FBI files, and previously untapped, contemporaneous newspaper accounts. At a turning point in social history, MLK and RFK embarked on distinct but converging paths toward lasting change. Even when they weren't interacting directly, they monitored and learned from, one another. Yet the distance they maintained from one another reflected much broader tensions between the races in the United States, and their nearly simultaneous deaths embodied the nation's violent predilections and ongoing racial turmoil. Their joint story, a story each man took some pains to hide and which began to come into focus only with their murders, is not just gripping history but a window into contemporary America and the challenges we continue to face. Complemented by eighty-three revealing photographs by the foremost photojournalists of the period, The Promise and the Dream offers a compelling look at one of the most consequential but misunderstood relationships in our nation's history. "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." --Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967 "In this difficult day, in this difficult time... It is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in." --Robert F. Kennedy, 1968

30 review for The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a fascinating biographical look at two men, “walking parallel paths and meeting parallel, tragic ends.” Bobby Kennedy was, of course, the younger brother of John F. Kennedy and utterly loyal, which was a character trait of his. The other trait which, apparently, followed him around was the label, ‘ruthless.’ Born into privilege and power, Kennedy relished campaigning for John F. Kennedy and, once his brother was President, he did everything he could to support him. For both Kennedy’s, Mar This is a fascinating biographical look at two men, “walking parallel paths and meeting parallel, tragic ends.” Bobby Kennedy was, of course, the younger brother of John F. Kennedy and utterly loyal, which was a character trait of his. The other trait which, apparently, followed him around was the label, ‘ruthless.’ Born into privilege and power, Kennedy relished campaigning for John F. Kennedy and, once his brother was President, he did everything he could to support him. For both Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. meant trouble. World famous by 1957, King was not without influence, but never directly endorsed John F. Kennedy. For King, the relationship between him and the Kennedy’s was an unequal one, deferential – as the author states, it was, ‘slightly degrading.’ King had to ask for things, whether protection or support. They would say yes or no – he said ‘please,’ and ‘thank you.’ John F. Kennedy was keen to placate the black community and move on. For him, Civil Rights was one of several important issues, but for King it was the only issue. One thing that Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, was certain of, was that he disliked both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. equally. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his death led Bobby Kennedy to fall into a deep depression and it took him some time to recover his thoughts and decide what he wanted to do next. Certainly the death of John F. Kennedy allowed Hoover to go after King and try to assassinate his character. Bobby Kennedy was involved in Hoover’s attempts to discredit Hoover, by various methods of spying on him. King, though, proved himself a wily opponent; cleverly conciliatory and respectful of Hoover. He had, by then, had much practice in holding his real thoughts in check and was able to undermine Hoover’s efforts. With Kennedy re-entering the political fray and King winning the Nobel Peace Prize, it seemed that they should have faced a future full of success. Instead, King, certainly, seemed to feel almost certain that he would be killed. He also felt side lined, as the Civil Rights movement became more radical and it seemed that he was considered a little out of touch with the new, upcoming leaders. Once King was assassinated, it seemed that almost everyone, including Bobby Kennedy himself, was sure he would be next. I knew little about either of these men before reading this book. At the end of it, I am impressed by both. Martin Luther King, Jr. came across as far more human than the little I had read about him before suggested. He was flawed, he was not perfect, but he was idealistic. As time went on, Bobby Kennedy shared many of those ideals. I was incredibly impressed by Bobby Kennedy, about whom I knew virtually nothing. He seemed a very good man, who could have done a great deal, and his loss was a tragedy. Indeed, both men met tragic ends and so close together that it must have shocked a nation at the time. I am glad I read this book and was very impressed by the writing and felt it increased my understanding of that tumultuous time and the people who shaped it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "Although they were political figures . . . they were human beings first, and their humaneness reached out to the needs of other people." -- Coretta Scott King Not quite a biography, Margolick focuses mostly on the two revered leaders during the country's revolutionary years of 1961 to 1968, when King (minister and activist) and Kennedy (Attorney General turned U.S. Senator turned presidential candidate) appeared to repeatedly cross paths in their individual and dissimilar efforts to bring change "Although they were political figures . . . they were human beings first, and their humaneness reached out to the needs of other people." -- Coretta Scott King Not quite a biography, Margolick focuses mostly on the two revered leaders during the country's revolutionary years of 1961 to 1968, when King (minister and activist) and Kennedy (Attorney General turned U.S. Senator turned presidential candidate) appeared to repeatedly cross paths in their individual and dissimilar efforts to bring change to civil rights for the better in America. In actuality, they had relatively little in-person interaction or even much of a personal 'relationship.' Still, they were near-constantly aware of each other as they went about their respective work in different ways. A respectful but not sugarcoated work (they weren't perfect . . . but then nobody is), which of course unfortunately ends with the tragic assassinations just months apart in 1968.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kusaimamekirai

    When these two young men were murdered, something died in all of us. We were robbed of part of our future. -John Lewis The dual biography is never an easy project in that invariably one person will receive more attention than the other. This becomes more difficult when the two subjects spent little time together during their lifetimes. There are two photos in which Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy appear. In one, MLK while technically is in the same photo, is not physically near RFK. The o When these two young men were murdered, something died in all of us. We were robbed of part of our future. -John Lewis The dual biography is never an easy project in that invariably one person will receive more attention than the other. This becomes more difficult when the two subjects spent little time together during their lifetimes. There are two photos in which Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy appear. In one, MLK while technically is in the same photo, is not physically near RFK. The other where they stand side by side, King looks distracted and as if Kennedy were emotionally absent. What makes this biography fascinating then is how their lack of face to face interaction is belied by how interdependent their fortunes were, how when one was ascendant the other was marginalized, how their philosophies diverged and by the end of their lives were nearly symbiotic. During the majority of their lifetimes, the two men were often suspicious of each other, if not at times hostile. King was frustrated by the glacial speed at which the Kennedy brothers implemented civil rights legislation as well as their appointing of racist judges in the South. For his part, Kennedy as a former assistant to Joseph McCarthy was wary of King’s association with former communists and at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, authorized extensive wiretaps of King’s home and phone calls. And yet what they shared in common was an unshakeable sense of justice and a burning desire to right the wrongs they saw. For King this manifested itself in the triumphs of Montgomery, the March on Washington (of which RFK played an important administrative role in ensuring it ran smoothly), and Selma. Even the failures, such as the Poor People’s Campaign, Memphis, and Chicago showed King’s firm commitment to practice what he preached no matter the consequences. Kennedy would start out more tentative than King on civil rights (particularly to protect his brother JFK) and Vietnam. But when he did eventually come around in 1967-68 after touring the Mississippi Delta and seeing the crushing poverty there (when Kennedy arrived home, ashen faced at what he had seen, he repeatedly reminded his family at dinner that evening ‘do you know how lucky you are? Do you?”), he brought a passion to it that shocked those who had always assumed he was simply “ruthless”, a “carpetbagger”, or an “opportunist”. He, like King, began to see that the war in Vietnam and poverty were inextricably linked and that continuing down the path we were was spiritual death, poisoning the country with each passing day. One of history’s great questions is what would have happened if these two men had lived. In hindsight we can look at a King deeply marginalized over his stance on Vietnam and locked in a seemingly intractable strike in Memphis. Kennedy had just won the California primary for president but he was far from guaranteed from doing the same in Illinois, or his “home” state of New York. It is perhaps the romantic in all of us who wants to imagine that these two men were on the top of their respective worlds when in fact they were not. And yet, their loss remains a stain on America’s soul. Not only for what they had done or would go on to do, but because they articulated a moral voice in a time of chaos. A voice that called to the mythical “better angels” of Lincoln. A voice that saw injustice and tried to right it. A voice that radiated “ripples of hope” for those whom hope was in short supply. It was an incalculable loss that perhaps America to this day has yet to recover from.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy are figures linked by great achievement and greater tragedy. Their twin assassinations in 1968 seemed to close the door on a better America, leading directly to the paranoid and destructive Nixon administration. They were two major figures in the civil rights movement, and at first glance a parallel biography seems a fine idea. However, as Margolick discusses in the opening, the parallels are weaker than they seem. King and Kennedy communicated relat Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy are figures linked by great achievement and greater tragedy. Their twin assassinations in 1968 seemed to close the door on a better America, leading directly to the paranoid and destructive Nixon administration. They were two major figures in the civil rights movement, and at first glance a parallel biography seems a fine idea. However, as Margolick discusses in the opening, the parallels are weaker than they seem. King and Kennedy communicated relatively rarely, and mostly in official capacities. They were mostly adversaries on civil rights, barely allies, and certainly not friends. While the Kennedy archive is voluminous and staffed with helpful experts, the King Paper Project has only published their sources up to 1962. This, combined with Margolick's own youth in a conservative New England town where Civil Rights was distant agitation, results in an unbalanced book that is a fine character study of Bobby Kennedy, and merely decent on King. The connection between the two is mostly ether. First Bobby. Raised in privilege as part of Joe Kennedy's sprawling family, Bobby was thrust both forward and into a supporting role. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was the heir, until he was killed in WW2, and then John was the Kennedy to be President. Bobby got a law degree, and then through his father's connections joined Senator McCarthy's infamous investigation, where he investigated communist infiltration and links between labor and organized crime. Bobby was always the hardest of the Kennedy boys, "Ruthless" the most common adjective to describe him. As Attorney General during the Civil Rights Era, he was in favor of order over change, and only reluctantly ordered Federal law enforcement to protect the Freedom Riders and other anti-segregation protesters. In the great error of his life, he approved FBI surveillance of King. But Kennedy's black and white morality included a capacity for change, and with his brother's assassination, and his own election to Senate, he became a staunch critic of injustice everywhere, speaking against Apartheid South Africa, poverty in America, and the escalating Vietnam War. Bobby was one of the most forceful advocates for He seemed to truly connect with the youth, and his campaign in 1968 may have well defeated both Vice President Hubert Humphrey and the future President Nixon, till he was slain by an assassin's bullet. Martin Luther King, Jr was born to an important and egotistical preacher, but the senior King was nowhere near Joseph Kennedy Sr., and no black man could rise far in Jim Crow America. King could have been a comfortable minister to the black middle class, but the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott demonstrated the power of non-violent direct action, and King rose on the strength of his charisma and vision to fight segregation across the South, and lead the 1963 Million Man March on Washington DC and the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. His vision was not matched by his organizational chops, and he found himself outflanked by the street-tough Black Power advocates from Northern cities, and alienated from his wealthy liberal backers as he turned increasingly against the war in Vietnam. King was organizing a massive white and black 'poor man's movement' when the assassin's bullet he long expected found him and made him a martyr. This is a good book, but as I said, unbalanced. Kennedy's moral progress is followed in agonizing detail. King's struggles, with other figures in the civil rights movement, with the powers that be, with his own philosophy of love and non-violence against the brutality of "Bull" Connor and others like him, is treated abruptly and mostly with cliched references towards Gandhi. It's a good book, but far from being great.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    This was a fascinating and insightful read. Poignant because of the intimate look into their dynamic personalities, their insecurities and just being human and knowing well in advance that what they fought for was going to cost them their lives, but they did it anyway because that is what you do when you are brave enough to hear that voice that guides you into something bigger than yourself. Activism and social justice and personal responsibility are largely shrugged off by Americans today in ex This was a fascinating and insightful read. Poignant because of the intimate look into their dynamic personalities, their insecurities and just being human and knowing well in advance that what they fought for was going to cost them their lives, but they did it anyway because that is what you do when you are brave enough to hear that voice that guides you into something bigger than yourself. Activism and social justice and personal responsibility are largely shrugged off by Americans today in exchange for a complacency and comfort that is allowed to take precedence over spiritual morality. It was good to be reminded that the cost of living is high, but you are not really living until you are accountable and liberated from self-indulgence, and therefore find the ultimate kind of freedom for your soul. This book is not about what could have been so much as it is about what you can and should be. And that is definitely what these social justice leaders wanted to teach us.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carl Williams

    I received a copy of this book, free, through Goodread Giveaways. Tied together in song (along with Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy) and in popular imagination, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were actually a little wary of each other much of the time. Their spheres and their work were overlapping Venn diagrams, perhaps, but they didn’t especially like each other. “...Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy both collaborated and collided. They were largely interdependent, with all the solicit I received a copy of this book, free, through Goodread Giveaways. Tied together in song (along with Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy) and in popular imagination, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were actually a little wary of each other much of the time. Their spheres and their work were overlapping Venn diagrams, perhaps, but they didn’t especially like each other. “...Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy both collaborated and collided. They were largely interdependent, with all the solicitude and manipulation and resentment that interdependence generates....For King, Kennedy was an ally and an obstacle, For Kennedy, King was an ally and an irritant and maybe an embarrassment, reminding him of his own shortcomings.” (p 93) Both men are presented with their strengths and challenges, there is no place for misty-eyed nostalgia or hero worship. Both were focused on different aspects of the same dream, struggled against their culture and times, and were fatalistic about their long time survival. But the only person who come off as evil is J. Edgar Hoover who had “it out” for both. Particularly touching, especially in the reality of 2018’s political machinations, were the stories of Robert Kennedy focusing on children—disabled, hunger, sick—and going out of his way to have contact with them. This book is precise, detailed, and interesting. Highly recommended (though I would have enjoyed an index).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence A

    Intelligent analysis of the conflicting, yet ultimately intersecting paths of 2 of America’s most visionary leaders. I’m docking it one star due to Margolick’s cluelessness concerning their assassinations.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bill reilly

    The Promise and the Dream opens with a part of history of which I was unaware. Martin Luther King had been arrested in Georgia in 1960 on a BS traffic charge. A sentence of four months at hard labor may have proven fatal. Robert F. Kennedy called the Judge and King was released. The JFK campaign flooded black churches with pamphlets and the minority vote won the election for Kennedy. Ironically, both RFK and MLK grew up with domineering fathers who had great ambition for their sons. Joseph Kenne The Promise and the Dream opens with a part of history of which I was unaware. Martin Luther King had been arrested in Georgia in 1960 on a BS traffic charge. A sentence of four months at hard labor may have proven fatal. Robert F. Kennedy called the Judge and King was released. The JFK campaign flooded black churches with pamphlets and the minority vote won the election for Kennedy. Ironically, both RFK and MLK grew up with domineering fathers who had great ambition for their sons. Joseph Kennedy once said,” the castle or the outhouse,” while plotting a path to the white house for one of his sons. King’s father was able to provide for a college education for young Martin. King moved back to Montgomery in 1954 and was a pastor at a local Baptist church when Rosa Parks changed history forever in 1955. The bus boycott made MLK famous. RFK was in lily white Boston at the time and fairly oblivious to racial problems. MLK’s fame came at a price as his house was bombed and he received unending death threats. Bobby had spent the early 1950’s with Joseph McCarthy and his witch hunts. After six months Bobby moved on to his battles with Jimmy Hoffa and mobsters. JFK met with MLK, but King remained officially neutral in the 1960 election. MLK, Sr. was initially for Nixon, mostly due to Kennedy’s Catholicism; bigotry comes in all forms, after all. Bobby was appointed attorney general at the insistence of daddy Joseph. The administration initially focused on voting rights legislation. RFK was tested in 1961 when freedom riders on buses were beaten by segregationists. The attorney general sent federal marshals, and later, the National Guard to protect King and his followers from being killed by Alabama red-necks (the same ***holes are still around, waving the Confederate flag as a symbol of “southern pride.”) The Kennedy’s were, first and foremost, political animals. Civil rights were a powder keg in the 1960’s, and the brothers did not want to alienate the southern white voters. King’s pleas for stronger government interaction were ignored. The Attorney General was technically the boss of J. Edgar Hoover and they shared an obsession of communism. Hoover had secret dossiers on JFK, RFK, and MLK. The Birmingham protests changed Bobby overnight, with press photos of marchers, including young children, being attacked by dogs and sprayed with fire hoses. James Baldwin became a mentor who tutored Kennedy on the realities of black life in white America. The friendship was short-lived. It ended when the FBI informed Kennedy that Baldwin was homosexual. I guess RFK’s Catholicism overtook his supposed liberalism. The unintended consequence of Governor George Wallace’s failed attempt to keep two black students from entering the University of Alabama was the great awakening for JFK on the civil rights issue. Without notes, the President spoke on television of the morality of his upcoming legislation making segregation illegal. November 22, 1963 almost destroyed Bobby. A close aide described him as a “ghost.” RFK had allowed limited wiretapping of MLK’s phones and Hoover stepped it up to character assassination with LBJ’s permission. Margolick does not whitewash King’s marital infidelities, which are quoted from the tapes; at times with vulgar language used by the reverend. Sanctimonious men of the cloth continue to amuse me. In 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize and Kennedy was elected to the U.S. senate from New York State. It was LBJ who pushed through the Civil Rights Bill and the Voting Rights Act. By 1966, Bobby was finding his voice as he traveled broadly and improved his speaking style. The crowds grew larger, with the White House as the ultimate prize. MLK was well ahead of RFK in opposition to the war in Vietnam. King’s famous speech at Riverside Church in NY City in April of 1967 was bitterly attacked by most of the mainstream media. Years later, it was seen as the pivotal moment in the anti-war movement. Meanwhile, Kennedy traveled to Jackson, Mississippi and met with poor blacks living in shacks with the dirt floors. The hungry children transformed the so-called “ruthless” politician into a compassionate human being. A shaken man told his daughter Kathleen, “do you know how lucky you are?” Bobby really had changed by 1968. His campaign for the election took off, with rock star like rallies. At college campuses, the interchanges with students were blunt and unfiltered. The people surrounding him saw a man who sincerely believed in fighting for the underdog. On route to the Democratic Party nomination, and after a victory in California, fate once again intervened. Only two months after the death of King, Robert was killed at a hotel in Los Angeles. He was warned to step up his security detail, but he shared a similar fatalistic outlook with Dr. King. Although Robert and Martin were not friendly on a personal level, they had become the conscience of America. What a tragic loss for the nation. Two million souls lined up along a funeral train procession, and the mourning continues fifty years later as we have transitioned from Richard Nixon to the current inhabitant of the White House, a carnival barker and con man with no sense of morality or values. The Promise and the Dream is a sad but important book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Lindstrom

    Thought experiment: what if David McCullough wrote a history about something that actually happened AFTER 1945? That history might read like David Margolick's "untold story" of MLK and RFK. Be advised, the title is pure marketing, the story has been told many times but usually in accounts of the civil rights movement or histories of America in the 1960s. This essay is less a history than a historical argument and Margolick makes a compelling case that the trials and tribulations of both men resul Thought experiment: what if David McCullough wrote a history about something that actually happened AFTER 1945? That history might read like David Margolick's "untold story" of MLK and RFK. Be advised, the title is pure marketing, the story has been told many times but usually in accounts of the civil rights movement or histories of America in the 1960s. This essay is less a history than a historical argument and Margolick makes a compelling case that the trials and tribulations of both men resulted in a rare, but lost historical movement that would have profoundly changed America for the better. The events documented are pure popular history but his is a good one that focuses on the early lives of both men (more Kennedy than King, even though his is far more documented) and details the social and political forces that drove them to a common cause, though they rarely met and both men had reason to distrust and even hate the other. Since this history is more an argument and less an account, Margolick seeks to make the case that while King's historical place is secure, Kennedy needs to be more remembered not as a footnote of the 1960's but how his experiences caused him to lead an unlikely reform coalition addressing economic inequality, racism and the problems of poor health care and public education—a message muddled by Kennedy's own anti-communist crusading past and his inability to deal with the Vietnam War. Make no mistake however: Kennedy's conversion could have only happened because he felt he had to "deal" with King's issues and as a consequence, Kennedy was forced to listen to voices he (and most of America's political class) had never heard before. One argument Margolick makes is how wrong it is to treat King as having "succeeded," rather than revealing how King's greatest success might have been to inspire those whose voices were never heard to speak louder, so that someone like a Kennedy, who sought the power to make real change, could hear those oft neglected sounds.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steven Voorhees

    A very readable but dense account, loaded with both historical and psychological import, of how Kennedy and King crossed mostly figurative paths. They were in each other's company only once or twice. Yet one kept abreast of -- and grudgingly admired -- the other. Theirs was a rather monochromatic minuet. It was devoid of affection. Yet it possessed a certain mutual respect. King and Kennedy wearily waltzed together amid the two events that defined the 1960's -- the Civil Rights Movement and the A very readable but dense account, loaded with both historical and psychological import, of how Kennedy and King crossed mostly figurative paths. They were in each other's company only once or twice. Yet one kept abreast of -- and grudgingly admired -- the other. Theirs was a rather monochromatic minuet. It was devoid of affection. Yet it possessed a certain mutual respect. King and Kennedy wearily waltzed together amid the two events that defined the 1960's -- the Civil Rights Movement and the morass of a war in Vietnam. MLK was "was, at his roots, a disrupter"; RFK, on the other hand, was described as one ".. whom you could love and hate at the same time." But they poured their incendiary destinies into the same cup of fate and together they wittingly put -- and kept -- racial equality in the hearts, on the lips and especially on the minds -- of their fellow citizens. Margolick very effectively writes of how Kennedy and King cleared many hurdles (political, cultural and regional, to name three) in their relay to keep alive the ideals rooted in America's founding, despite time not being on either man's side. The author's look back is compelling, as is his look forward. Margolick concludes his book thusly: "They have become a team .. they [are] in the hear and now -- inspiring us still."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Tough to review. First - people interested in civil rights in America should read it. The writer does a great job intertwining the lives and growth of these two men. I had to memorize RFK Indianapolis speech when I was in sixth grade (long forgotten mostly now) but this book repeatedly made me think of that speech and appreciate it more. The book helped me understand how RFK grew to this moment. That is what makes this worth a read if you care. Second, I struggled with the way the book was writte Tough to review. First - people interested in civil rights in America should read it. The writer does a great job intertwining the lives and growth of these two men. I had to memorize RFK Indianapolis speech when I was in sixth grade (long forgotten mostly now) but this book repeatedly made me think of that speech and appreciate it more. The book helped me understand how RFK grew to this moment. That is what makes this worth a read if you care. Second, I struggled with the way the book was written. At times I felt like it was a series of History lessons in a high school paper for Black History month. The first bunch of chapters struggled to find it's way and kept repeating certain phrases as if trying to make it a theme (clumsily). Additionally most of the time the Vocabulary is just fine but every so often a word would show up that just seemed too out of place in the flow (Thesaurus use by the HS editor team?) I almost gave up on the book because of these things. But once it got past all that it really got going and was difficult to put down.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauri Holmes

    In 1968, I was 9 years old and growing up in small-town Oregon. I remember vividly watching the Vietnam War on the tv news, as well as my father vilifying the anti-war protestors. I remember the flags at half-staff after Martin Luther King was killed. I remember actually seeing the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy on the tv the morning after. We had had a mock election at my grade school, which Kennedy had won. I remember being devastated. I had to read this book to see the occurrences of that time In 1968, I was 9 years old and growing up in small-town Oregon. I remember vividly watching the Vietnam War on the tv news, as well as my father vilifying the anti-war protestors. I remember the flags at half-staff after Martin Luther King was killed. I remember actually seeing the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy on the tv the morning after. We had had a mock election at my grade school, which Kennedy had won. I remember being devastated. I had to read this book to see the occurrences of that time from the eyes of a grownup. The book was hard to put down. It was imminently readable. I learned a lot that, as a child in a backwater, I had not known: about the Kennedy brothers, about King and Civil Rights struggle; about the political atmosphere of the time. The last two days of reading, of course, were highly emotional, and I had tissues handy and used them. This book is definitely worth one's time. Read it; learn.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Macke

    There is compelling political intrigue here and the author does a fine job in creating side-by-side biographical sketches of two people well worth getting to know ... Still, the underlying point of the book, it's perceived reason for being is simply a mirage ... King and Kennedy, essentially, had no personal relationship and, had they lived, the existence of a future alliance is pure conjecture ... The historical content and perspective provided by the book is interesting, but the concept that t There is compelling political intrigue here and the author does a fine job in creating side-by-side biographical sketches of two people well worth getting to know ... Still, the underlying point of the book, it's perceived reason for being is simply a mirage ... King and Kennedy, essentially, had no personal relationship and, had they lived, the existence of a future alliance is pure conjecture ... The historical content and perspective provided by the book is interesting, but the concept that the two men are somehow connected - by philosophy or politics or some karmic spirit is a stretch ... Though they will always I suppose be "connected" by their infinite potential and the struggle toward a life of character and the unrealized "what might have been"

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    I'd have liked this book more if there were not punctuation problems. Random quote marks. Just one end of them. They were not complete. Also "Hoover" was not spelled correctly once and it was startling. It was spelled "Hooer" and this just should not happen in a book that is wanting to be taken seriously. I almost stopped reading it when I got to that, I'd pushed through the punctuation issues. The actual content of the book was alright. Both of these men were interesting and how their actions i I'd have liked this book more if there were not punctuation problems. Random quote marks. Just one end of them. They were not complete. Also "Hoover" was not spelled correctly once and it was startling. It was spelled "Hooer" and this just should not happen in a book that is wanting to be taken seriously. I almost stopped reading it when I got to that, I'd pushed through the punctuation issues. The actual content of the book was alright. Both of these men were interesting and how their actions intertwined, even without much direct interaction, was neat. I think it could have been organized a little better though. There were some spots where a better transition would have been beneficial. So, this is good but had the potential to be much better. It really stood in its own way.

  15. 4 out of 5

    michael j pompura

    Two men with different moral personalities change the course of history A good read to understand how change was started to overcome one of America's darkest immonalities that stained a nation and it's people. Within the authors notes RFKs' daughter Kathleen was really not sure how he is going to write a book about these two men that were living in two different worlds only speaking to each other a few time during their lives . I believe the author did show how they influenced and assisted each o Two men with different moral personalities change the course of history A good read to understand how change was started to overcome one of America's darkest immonalities that stained a nation and it's people. Within the authors notes RFKs' daughter Kathleen was really not sure how he is going to write a book about these two men that were living in two different worlds only speaking to each other a few time during their lives . I believe the author did show how they influenced and assisted each other through a common goal to abolish a great immoral issue in our history.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Nichols

    Great book about 2 great men I've read alot about Robert Kennedy and wanted to read about Dr. King, so this book was a good mix for me. I thought it would have been more about them together but the truth was that they didnt interact all that often, which is amazing for two leaders working on similar things. The sad part is knowing that they were closing that gap and had both lived, I think they would have been a power force once they closed that gap. And this world would have been completely diff Great book about 2 great men I've read alot about Robert Kennedy and wanted to read about Dr. King, so this book was a good mix for me. I thought it would have been more about them together but the truth was that they didnt interact all that often, which is amazing for two leaders working on similar things. The sad part is knowing that they were closing that gap and had both lived, I think they would have been a power force once they closed that gap. And this world would have been completely different for the better.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toni Morgan

    A nicely written parallelling biography of the most impactful years in the lives of MLK and RFK, revealing their sometimes common and sometimes divergent political careers, their shared passions, their shared trials, and finally their shared fate. Not as deep an analysis as I would have liked on their two characters, but still the book is a fair presentation of both men as they were in life. This book does not make the mistake of trying to make them bigger than life, or more perfect than they we A nicely written parallelling biography of the most impactful years in the lives of MLK and RFK, revealing their sometimes common and sometimes divergent political careers, their shared passions, their shared trials, and finally their shared fate. Not as deep an analysis as I would have liked on their two characters, but still the book is a fair presentation of both men as they were in life. This book does not make the mistake of trying to make them bigger than life, or more perfect than they were. A good and honest biography - no bull.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen Christensen

    Where would we be now if these two men hadn't been assassinated? Margolick's book is a nicely balanced and well-written history of each man's trajectory during the late 50's and 60's, where they intersected and where they didn't. This book leaves the leader well-informed but feeling sad and thinking "if only...." Where would we be now if these two men hadn't been assassinated? Margolick's book is a nicely balanced and well-written history of each man's trajectory during the late 50's and 60's, where they intersected and where they didn't. This book leaves the leader well-informed but feeling sad and thinking "if only...."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Nelson

    This is a really great book about the story of showing how the events of the 60's helped to shape the people in the 60's. What is also nice about this book is that it is a great read whether you have read and know a lot about this people or not. Also the authors understands that of the two RFK is the lesser known of the two and makes sure that you fully understand them both. This is a really great book about the story of showing how the events of the 60's helped to shape the people in the 60's. What is also nice about this book is that it is a great read whether you have read and know a lot about this people or not. Also the authors understands that of the two RFK is the lesser known of the two and makes sure that you fully understand them both.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    MLK & RFK: TWO LIVES THAT MOVED AMERICA Margolick writes beautifully and insightfully of these two men from very different backgrounds whose lives would come to mean so much to America

  21. 5 out of 5

    Corey Herlevsen

    This intriguing book gave me a much richer appreciation for the accomplishments of both King and Kennedy as well as a clearer understanding of that turbulent time in American history. Highly recommended!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Curtis Moser

    Excellent look at two men who had different perspectives on change and racial equity, and the paths that led them to their assassinations. A lot of similarities to today's problems with race and inequality--hopefully a change is coming. I enjoyed this a great deal. 5 stars. Excellent look at two men who had different perspectives on change and racial equity, and the paths that led them to their assassinations. A lot of similarities to today's problems with race and inequality--hopefully a change is coming. I enjoyed this a great deal. 5 stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ron Willoughby

    Well written. Insightful. An excellent read. I look forward to reading more of Margolick's work. Well written. Insightful. An excellent read. I look forward to reading more of Margolick's work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really enjoyed this book. I liked the combination of these two characters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Blane

    Review I liked the book and learned from it. He was a icon and our country would have been different if he lived. He felt people pain and wanted to fix their lives.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  27. 5 out of 5

    Krish Domingo

  28. 4 out of 5

    larry tedesco

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joe Lucia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Lippert

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