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Stephen B. Oates is the author of sixteen books, including The Approaching Fury; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln and Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the latter two books ...
Stephen B. Oates is the author of sixteen books, including The Approaching Fury; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln and Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the latter two books winning, respectively, the Christopher Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award. They have been translated into several languages.
Oates was a consultant and "talking head" in Ken Burns's Civil War series on PBS, and is a recipient of the Nevins-Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table for lifetime achievement in the field of Civil War studies. A teacher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he is now writing the concluding book of the Voices of Storm trilogy, about the years of Reconstruction, 1865-1877.
Posted January 3, 2005
On a recent trip to Mississippi, I read a book my wife gave me. 'Let the Trumpet Sound' by Stephen Oates is a book I waited a few years (22 to be precise ) to get my hands on. It's the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, laid out by an obvious admirer and unabashed liberal. King's life is an inspiration, and reminded me, once again, what a real Christian can do when he/she combines courage and principle and turns them into action. There were a lot of things I had forgotten about his life and there were some things I didn't know. Oates style held up through most of the book, though it wore thin at the very end. To his credit, he did not gloss over King's personal mistakes, and pointed out, rightfully, that it provided ammo for the FBI, which was more interested in hurting him than helping him. Over the years, I have heard conspiracy theories about King's death and FBI involvement. Oates doesn't go there, but its clear J Edgar Hoover had it in for MLK. Oates points out that King's greatness is undeniable and his life still moves me. I thought for a long time about my own Christianity, and what it means to me. It's tough to be a Christian in these dark and strange times, there are so few churches where the madness hasn't invaded. I felt a real sense of nostalgia for a voice in the church like King's. I'm pretty sad that there isn't one right now. As I turned the pages to read about his death in Memphis, I stopped and paused for a minute. I didn't want to read about it, but forced myself to finish. What a loss for the world. Had he lived, Dr. King would now be 75 years old.
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Posted January 8, 2013
Posted January 10, 2010
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