Jonathan Eig in conversation with Chuck Ross for King: A Life

06/07 5:30 PM: Jonathan Eig in conversation with Chuck Ross for King: A Life
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - 5:30pm

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Named a most anticipated book of 2023 by The Washington PostThe Millions, and Literary Hub

The first full biography in decades, King mixes revelatory and exhaustive new research with brisk and accessible storytelling to forge the definitive life for our times.

Please join us in welcoming Jonathan Eig for his new book King: A LifeWednesday, June 7th, 5:30 PM @ Off Square Books. Jonathan with be in conversation with Charles K. Ross, chair of the African American Studies Program and History professor at the University of Mississippi. 

About the Book

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.—and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. As he follows MLK from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father—as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr.

In this landmark biography, Eig gives us an MLK for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Includes 8 pages of black-and-white photographs

About the Author

Jonathan Eig is a former senior writer for The Wall Street Journal. He is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including Ali: A Life, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season. Ken Burns calls him "a master storyteller," and Eig's books have been listed among the best of the year by The Washington PostChicago TribuneSports Illustrated, and Slate. He lives in Chicago with his wife and children.

About the Host

Dr. Charles K. Ross is a native of Columbus, Ohio and currently is the Chair of the African American Studies Program, and Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Ross holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stillman College, in History. He received a Master of Arts degree in Black Studies, a Master of Arts Degree in History, and a Ph.D in History from The Ohio State University. Dr. Ross is the author of, Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League which was released by New York University Press in 1999. He has also written a chapter titled “A Historical Legacy of Black Male Leadership: Medgar Evers” for Brothers of the Academy Up and Coming Black Scholars Earning Our Way in Higher Education published by Stylus in 2000. Dr. Ross is the editor of Race and Sport: The Struggle for Equality On and Off the Field, which was released by the University of Mississippi Press in 2004. His teaching interests include 20th Century U.S. History, African American History, and Sport History. He has appeared on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and on ESPN Radio, and given several interviews for local television and print media. Dr. Ross is a member of Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH), North American Society of Sport History (NASSH), American Historical Association (AHA), and the National Council of Black Studies.

Praise for...

"Eig’s monumental work, the first major biography of Martin Luther King Jr. in decades, challenges the image of him as a peaceful advocate of incremental change. There’s plenty of new detail, including from recently declassified F.B.I. files, allowing King to emerge as a complex, humane figure." —J. Howard Rosier, The New York Times

"In this biography, his sixth book, Eig writes like an Olympic diver who jackknifes off the high board, slicing the water without a ripple. He performs with sheer artistry, like Picasso paints and Astaire dances." —Kitty Kelley, Washington Independent Review of Books

"Greatness and opacity more often than not seem to go hand in hand: the most important among us seem out of reach, inscrutable, indifferent to our entreaties for human detail beyond the sensational or salacious. But here, Eig has pulled off a kind of miracle. Here is the King we know, think we know and ought to know. Here is the leader, the preacher, the orator, the husband, the father, the martyr, the human being—not with melodramatic halo in place, but in all his heroic, tragic Glory. Hallelujah!" —Ken Burns

"Jonathan Eig’s King is an exemplary masterclass in biography: Eig's knowledge of the subject matter is scholarly, his discovery of new and untapped historical sources is relentless, and his prose is gripping. This is a captivating story of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: a child scarred by pervasive racism, a man haunted by racist violence and death threats, a minister hunted by his own federal government, a human being afflicted by all-too-common human frailties, and a citizen who somehow managed to have an uncommon Christian faith and the courage to speak truth to power. Eig’s King is not just a welcomed contribution to MLK biography, but also a call to confront our own humanity, and a summons to bear witness against the societal evils that plagued King’s time and persist in our own." —Dr. Lerone A. Martin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

Event address: 
129 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655
King: A Life By Jonathan Eig Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374279295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 16th, 2023