Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights

Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights

by Steven Levingston


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A New York Times Editors' Choice Pick

"Kennedy and King is an unqualified masterpiece of historical narrative . . . A landmark achievement." — Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Rosa Parks

Kennedy and King traces the emergence of two of the twentieth century's greatest leaders, their powerful impact on each other and on the shape of the civil rights battle between 1960 and 1963. These two men from starkly different worlds profoundly influenced each other's personal development. Kennedy's hesitation on civil rights spurred King to greater acts of courage, and King inspired Kennedy to finally make a moral commitment to equality. As America still grapples with the legacy of slavery and the persistence of discrimination, Kennedy and King is a vital, vivid contribution to the literature of the Civil Rights Movement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316267380
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 03/27/2018
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 249,454
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Steven Levingston is the author of Little Demon in the City of Light, Kennedy and King, which was named a New York Times Editor's Choice selection and a Washington Post Notable Book of 2017, and Barack and Joe. The nonfiction book editor of the Washington Post, he has lived and worked in Beijing, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, and Washington and reported and edited for the Wall Street Journal and International Herald Tribune.

Table of Contents

Foreword for the Paperback Edition Michael Eric Dyson xi

"To Teach a President" xiii

Part 1 Two Men, Two Worlds 1

Part 2 A Call to Coretta 69

Part 3 "Tomorrow May Be Too Late" 107

Part 4 "Pawns in a White Man's Political Game" 199

Part 5 "It Often Helps Me to Be Pushed" 299

Epilogue 429

Acknowledgments 437

Note on Sources 439

Notes 441

Bibliography 483

Index 491

What People are Saying About This

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators - Walter Isaacson

"In this fascinating and timely book, Steve Levingston examines how these two young leaders in the early 1960s were being tested on the national scene—and testing each other. Despite their disparate backgrounds and personal styles, they came together to make history. Anyone who wants to understand America, the Civil Rights Movement, and the nature of leadership should read this book."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Confe - David Garrow

“A captivatingly written, thoroughly researched, and deeply thoughtful revisiting of an unforgettable historical partnership which continues to resonate.”

Congressman (D-GA) - John Lewis

"Kennedy and King tells the story of two brilliant leaders who injected new meaning into the veins of American society. Together, their influence created a moral imperative that changed the U.S. and the world. Levingston's book is both historical and visionary. By reminding us of these great leaders and their accomplishments, this book will fuel your passion for the new work we still need to accomplish in our society."

New York Times bestselling author of Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America - Wil Haygood

"As the moral courage of Martin Luther King Jr. came up against the political instincts of President John F. Kennedy—with both men trying to save their nation—a new history was set in motion. It's all brought to fascinating light in Steven Levingston's righteous book."

New York Times bestselling author of The General Vs. The President - H. W. Brands

"History, politics and ambition brought John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. together in the early 1960s. Their relationship was personally complex, it was fateful for the nation, and it has never been told more compellingly."

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Rosa Parks and The Reagan Diaries - Douglas Brinkley

"Steven Levingston's Kennedy and King is an unqualified masterpiece of historical narrative. Every page sparkles with literary verve, eloquent storytelling, and keen analytic judgment. It might be the best dual biography I've ever read. A landmark achievement which elevates Civil Rights history into a high art form."

New York Times bestselling author of Robert Kennedy and Being Nixon - Evan Thomas

"Moral courage is the subject of this fascinating book. For Martin Luther King Jr. and, especially, for John F. Kennedy the path was rarely simple or straightforward. Steven Levingston has told a gripping, moving, revealing tale."

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