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

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

Edgar Award Nominee
One of the Best Books of the Year: O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Francisco Chronicle

From the acclaimed bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder, a taut, intense narrative about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the largest manhunt in American history.

On April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary, escaped in a breadbox. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man—whose real name was James Earl Ray—drifted through the South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he was galvanized by George Wallace’s racist presidential campaign.

On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage men were crushed to death in their hydraulic truck, provoking the exclusively African American workforce to go on strike. Hoping to resuscitate his faltering crusade, King joined the sanitation workers’ cause, but their march down Beale Street, the historic avenue of the blues, turned violent. Humiliated, King fatefully vowed to return to Memphis in April.

With relentless storytelling drive, Sides follows Galt and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the crushing moment at the Lorraine Motel when the drifter catches up with his prey. Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots and the pathos of King’s funeral, Sides gives us a riveting cross-cut narrative of the assassin’s flight and the sixty-five-day search that led investigators to Canada, Portugal, and England—a massive manhunt ironically led by Hoover’s FBI.

Magnificent in scope, drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material, this nonfiction thriller illuminates one of the darkest hours in American life—an example of how history is so often a matter of the petty bringing down the great.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385523929
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 498,791
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

A native of Memphis, HAMPTON SIDES is an award-winning editor of Outside and the author of the bestselling histories Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers.

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Hellhound on His Trail 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This guy can write! Just finished Hellhound and my verdict is that Sides has produced a masterpiece. Sides tracks a killer and his victim in the days, weeks, and months before the murder in a way that is compelling in a simple, understated way. Had this book been written about two men we had never heard of, it would have been a fantastic read. But the narrative tracks two men we thought we knew and presents them as flesh and blood human with weaknesses, pathologies, and incredibly interesting lives. One of the reviewers complained that both men are presnted as equals-- this is not true. Instead, MLK is portrayed as the human being that he was who drank too much, was a terrible womanizer, and was filled with self-doubts. Imagine that: a human who is actually presented as a mortal man! Ray, is presnted as a deeply disturbed, racist career criminal-- this is hardly a positive presentation. The writing style is this book's best quality; it's very hard to put down and the reader will devour it in large chuncks!
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
Ask most people "Who is Eric Starvo Galt?" and you will receive a not unexpected blank look. But mention James Earl Ray and you will receive a much different reaction. This book chronicles the interwoven lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray during the few months prior to Dr. King's assassination, through the heinous act itself, until Ray is finally hunted down and brought to justice. I have to commend the author for neither deifying Dr. King; nor stereotyping Mr. Ray. Chapters alternate throughout the book, telling the different stories as they happened. I thought the story was even handed and fair throughout. Well researched and documented, even though I am aware of what transpired, I still found myself turning the pages as if this was a thrilling novel. My feelings are best summed up by the following exchange between Andrew Young and Dexter King, Dr. King's seven year old son."Uncle Andy, this man didn't know our Daddy, did he?" speaking of King's killer. "Why do you say that?" Young asked. "Because if he had, he wouldn't have shot him. He was just an ignorant man who didn't know any better." Out of the mouth of babes... A fascinating inside look into one of America's darkest hours and the struggle to provide some measure of closure to an act that had the potential to turn America's racial struggle into a full blown civil war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
D: Nathan! What do we do? Nat: Im thinking! Nick! Whats your suggestion?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has allot of history that you might not have known about the incident but unfortunately no actual interviews with the assassin himself so some of it is speculation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing read! Insightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OldWahoo More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and well written account of the murder of MLK and its aftermath. Particularly absorbing is the story of Ray's flight from the scene and his efforts to escape the authorities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Told (almost) in first person narrative, the story seen move by move through the eyes of James Earl Ray, the stalking, leading up to the assassination of MLK, his escape after and the police investigation.
PegT More than 1 year ago
A riveting account of Dr Martin Luther's shooting by James Earl Ray, with a historical account of the events leading up to it and the dragnet conducted by the FBI in locating and capturing Ray. In addition the author gives us a factual event documentary of Ray's escape again from prison. Tha examination of both Ray's and King's character and background makes for a trully excellent historical perspective. The book is excellent in examining and pain staking documenting all the various conspiracy theories as they relate to the murder and scholarly debunks all the myths from reality. The only thing we really don't learn is how Ray was able to accumulate money to conduct his odysssey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*turns to smoke when hes touched then reforms behind you* over here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The well-built black she with a red blackwidows pattern in her side and a smaller one on her forehead padded in "i received word of a clan i feel i would fit well in" she said in a slow deadly tranquil voice "what requierments would one need to fofill to join?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He looks around at the empty camp. "So this is what happens when you don't visit for a few months," he muses. He walks over to the old leaders den. He peers inside. "Anyone hear?" He calls. There is no answer. He shrugs and settles down in the middle of the clearing to wait for the missing Clan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brown tabby she-cat looks around and walks off
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pounced at him and pinned him down "one thing i always say and has gotten me throygh is expect the unexpected"
jcp56 More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read; read likes a thriller. While I was reading I kept checking the back for Sides' sources. Incredibly researched, with the research woven into this page-turner to make you realize that, with one crazy fact after the other, this was just too weird to be anything but real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hellhound On His Trail exposed conspiracy theories that I never considered. This book kept my interest to the very end and was extremely informative and educational. I wish Hampton Sides delved more deeply into the exchange between Ray and MLK Jr.'s son after the conviction. Very entertaining - a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CrownMary1 More than 1 year ago
A friend suggested I read this book. It's not my typical read but I took his advice. GREAT book! Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ATTORNEEWHOKNOWS More than 1 year ago
To a great extent, it is downright shame that, in terms of treating a historically important subject with sound, unbiased research and writing(the King assassination and James Earl Ray's supposed role,) Hampton Sides' Hellhound on His Trail falls short at all levels. Not only is it saturated with laughable allegations, it is, at best, marginally written in terms of the King's English. It appears that Mr. Sides is yet another in a long list of writers pro Ray guilty in the King assassination, following in the footsteps of William Bradford Huie, George McMillan, Gerald Posner and others. Even more troubling is that books such as Hellhound on His Trail continue to receive rave reviews from major media outlets: newspapers, magazines, television shows. While some might be naive and gullible enough to fall for Sides' Hellhound on his Trail, others find it as nothing short of downright insulting!