Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

4.1 101
by Hampton Sides
     
 

"On April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the maximum-security Jefferson City Penitentiary in Missouri, stuffed himself into a bread-filled metal box bound for the prison farm workers. He became the first man to successfully escape in the institution's 131-year history. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man drifted through the

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Overview

"On April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the maximum-security Jefferson City Penitentiary in Missouri, stuffed himself into a bread-filled metal box bound for the prison farm workers. He became the first man to successfully escape in the institution's 131-year history. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man drifted through the American South, down into Mexico, and then to Los Angeles. His dream was to become a director of porn films." "On February 1, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, two garbage men were crushed to death by the hydraulic press of their antiquated truck. The exclusively African American workforce, which labored for long hours with little pay, went on strike. A month later, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. joined their cause. Exhausted by constant death threats and the toll of his punishing schedule, the Nobel laureate was at the nadir of his extraordinary career. Beset on the left by the Black Power movement, which felt his nonviolent methods were a form of Uncle Tomism, and viciously harassed by J. Edgar Hoover, who considered him a dangerous radical, King desperately wanted to further his faltering civil rights crusade. But the garbage workers' march down Beale Street, the historic avenue of the blues, turned violent. Humiliated, King vowed to return to Memphis in April." "Hiding in the seedier precincts of Los Angeles, his porn career going nowhere, the man calling himself Eric Galt became a follower of George Wallace, the segregationist demagogue who was running for president of the United States. Galvanized by Wallace's racial rhetoric, Galt threw himself into the campaign and began tracking the movements of King." "In Hampton Sides's account, we see these two men - one whose courage and savvy embodied one of the twentieth centuries' greatest causes; the other who lived his stunted life in the shadows - as they crisscross the country, Galt stalking King, until the devastating moment at a Memphis motel when the drifter catches up with his prey." Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots, political crises, and the pathos of King's funeral, Sides deftly weaves a crosscut narrative of the assassin's flight and the massive, desperate search to find him - led, ironically, by the same FBI whose director had hoped to hound King to death. The epic chase would involve thousands of agents, traverse multiple countries, and take three months of meticulous detective work until Galt - a.k.a. Harvey Lowmeyer, a.k.a. Ramon George Sneyd, a.k.a. James Earl Ray - was captured only days before he planned to take refuge in the racist state of Rhodesia.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385523929
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
704,589
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: #416-J 1

Bk. 1 In the City of the Kings 11

Bk. 2 Who Is Eric Galt? 229

Bk. 3 The Hottest Man in the Country 323

Epilogue: #65477 385

Acknowledgments 399

A Note on Sources 403

Notes 407

Bibliography 449

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