Lewis (religion, Vanderbilt Univ.) has written a competent, if uncritical and derivative study of the origins of King's philosophy and civil rights activism. He focuses on three major influences: sense of place (the South), idea of community, and Christian optimism. To Lewis, King was far more deeply affected by the Southern black church than by any higher theological studies in the North. Lewis sees his work as a corrective to studies which overemphasize formal theology and underplay culture. In fact, works on King by scholars like David Garrow (Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. & the Southern Leadership Conference, 1955- 1968 , Morrow, 1986), Stephen Oates (Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., LJ 7/82), and Taylor Branch (Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, LJ 1/89) have emphasized the importance of Southern black religion in King's life and career, presenting a balanced view of King's roots. Lewis gives us a useful summary rather than a major contribution. Recommended primarily for large university and public libraries.-- Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.