Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement” as Want to Read:
The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  140 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The essential moments of the Civil Rights Movement are set in historical context by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the magisterial America in the King Years trilogy—Parting the Waters; Pillar of Fire; and At Canaan’s Edge.

Taylor Branch, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning America in the King Years trilogy, presents selections from his monumental work that recount
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The King Years, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The King Years

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 406)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kenneth Barber
Jan 27, 2013 Kenneth Barber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It pulled major events of the civil rights era from the authors 3 volume work on the King years. A good introduction to MLK and events that defined an era
I hate giving this three stars because I know it is an historically significant book - and because for years I have wanted to read the Taylor Branch books about Dr. King. I didn't dislike this book, but there just was not enough there for me - I guess I wanted more detail, more first-person accounts, etc. That being said, I guess I should have read the unabridged book(s) if that's what I want! I do think the story of this era in which I was a child/teenager is compelling, and Branch is a wonderf ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Jeb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but incomplete history of the civil rights movement, centering MLK and obscuring many of the other important players as extras in the MLK story. I often found myself wanting to know more about those men and women and frustrated to see them continually cast as bit players only. Relatedly, the book severely understates the importance of women as being central to the success of the CRM. Worth a read, but only as a jumping off point.
Jan 19, 2015 Eddie rated it really liked it
The ‘Years’ just flew by.

One would be hard-pressed attempting to condense a 2300+ page trilogy down to a 290 page paperback, but that’s what author, Taylor Branch, did. According to Branch, The King Years “ a condensation, a short distillation, of the 18 most essential moments in the Civil Rights movement between [19]54 and 1968. It’s kind of like a re-introduction and re-interpretation of a transformative era in our history.” You would probably agree that it is always good idea to get reaqu
Mar 10, 2015 Joeydag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this author's narrative history. He is lucid and compassionate. I may have time one day to read the full three volume history he has written to absorb all the detail he researched but this short (190 pages) book composed of 19 pieces snipped from the three volumes with short introductions gives a sense of the arc of the story. Here are some small items that I remember from this read. King made his first speech on the civil rights issues at the age of 26 and he died 12 years lat ...more
Feb 23, 2013 Crystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing. I think you are probably better off reading the three-volume set.
Apr 14, 2015 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The King Years", by Taylor Branch, extracts a lot of material from the author's earlier and more complete works on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's public life (Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Caanan's Edge). Therefore, by its nature, it's a little more broken up and segmented than a complete continuous narrative would be. But it highlights many of the most important features of "the King Years", from his early days preaching non-violence in 1954 through his fight for civil rights in th ...more
While Branch created this 200 pages distillation of his nearly 3,000 page trilogy on the Civil Rights Movement for those who can't handle the entire series, it stands on its own. It has inspired me to read the entire trilogy though I am not sure when I will find the time. It was eye-opening in ways I didn't expect. Though I knew J. Edgar Hoover spied on Dr. King, I had no idea that the FBI engaged in a misinformation campaign, including mailings, to undermine his organizing. I knew the various p ...more
Linda Lipko
It took longer than usual to read this book which contained selections from the author's America in the King Years trilogy.

Each chapter is devoted is an instrumental event of the Civil Rights years.

While it was worth the read, I found the book pedantic and at times preachy.
Tim Swift
There are some interesting short pieces in here but as a non-US citizen who doesn't know enough of the Civil Rights movement history, it's hard to connect the parts - it would be better to read an overall history of the movement first.
May 23, 2014 Walt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains excepts from the author's other books. It has interesting insights of the behind-the-scenes narratives behind memorable moments in the civil rights movement. It is a quick and exciting read! It's hard to put down.
Michael Cunningham
This book is sort of like the cliff notes version to the trio of books by this author. I'm thankful he put this together because I don't think I could tackle the others yet. I learned a lot about MLK,and the era of civil rights he lived and worked in that I don't believe I'd ever heard before. So many times, history taught in school is the briefest mention of the most important facts. This book helps you get up close and personal with MLK and those he worked with. I wasn't aware how much disagre ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Diane-OP rated it liked it
If I hadn't read some of the original trilogy I probably would have rated this higher. It is obviously well-written & researched - but since it's a compilation is definitely glossing the high points. Good intro to the period - especially for young adults who didn't live through parts of it.
Shireen Khan
Apr 13, 2015 Shireen Khan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me a good understanding of the climate of the civil rights era. Very well done.
Feb 16, 2015 Jenae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very abridged version of Branch's The King Years trilogy, I found this to be a very readable and informative book. Very inspiring, as always, to read about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in the Civil Rights Movement. Learning about King's involvement in anti-poverty work throughout his life and specifically toward the end of his life, when he could have just retired to the sidelines or taken up more popular campaigns, was especially interesting and meaningful to me.
John Tucci
This book is designed to be a sampler from Taylor Branch's acclaimed trilogy: The King Years.
Mar 19, 2015 Dionne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, civil-rights
Since I've read a lot of books about the civil rights movement lately, some of the information in this book wasn't new. But I still learned things and it was a good, concise overview of the civil rights movement.
Mar 10, 2014 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2014-new
Marc Cooper
Pretty good, very readable but not so memorable, but one can only do so much in an abridged format. I want to read the unabridged volumes this was based on but it seems to be harder to find those in audiobook format.
Guadalupe Salas
Oct 08, 2013 Guadalupe Salas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The King years was a very good book; I enjoyed this book a lot because I've alway had an interest in history, and more specifically the civil rights movement. I found it interesting to learn more about Dr. King but also learn about other people such as Bob Moses, and the Kennedy brothers. I liked the detail in the book because I have heard stories about the civil rights movement but never imagined just how cruel people were during that time. I found the book to be very interesting overall.
Taylor Branch has written a much more extensive work on Dr. King. This book takes about a dozen highlights from Kings career and gives insights and "back story information to these events. I have read other books on King but this was a good review of all the accomplishments and the stress and terror this man actually faced.
Nov 23, 2014 Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fresh, engaging and enlightening read. Not an autobiography of King, but a history of the civil rights movement in brief. Branch lets the events of the era unfold like stories and he peoples them with all the key characters - JFK, RFK, LBJ, J Edgar Hoover, Bob Moses - not just MLK, but he remains true to his thesis that "King's life is the best and most important metaphor for American history in the watershed postwar years."
Jul 18, 2013 Alaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many readers have reported, this is an abrigded version of a 3-volume award-winning set of nonfiction books about Martin Luther King, by Taylor Branch. I enjoyed the "shortenend version" and would like to get around to reading the full set. I liked the photos, and also the writing very much.
Jan 06, 2014 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a handy shortened form of Branch's long CR books. It made me want to read the long versions!
Feb 22, 2016 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully done. If you have time read all three.
This was a fair digest of the much larger trilogy on the subject, but I did feel it was lacking a little context and would probably have enjoyed the full titles much more. The excerpts from the full titles were my favorite part.
Jan 25, 2013 Chuck rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you have the time read the 3 volume set on this era. Not sure what Branch was trying to do with this 190 page synopsis of those three books.
Mark Cheathem
The editing was haphazard sometimes, but it provided a nice overview of King's influence on the civil rights movement.
Jill McKibben
Feb 26, 2014 Jill McKibben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought I knew everything there was to know about MLK, but I learned much from this tiny book.
Mar 17, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book to hit the important events during the 60's.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation
  • The Mother Heart of God: Unveiling the Mystery of the Father's Maternal Love
  • Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist
  • Gifts of the Desert: The Forgotten Path of Christian Spirituality
  • Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left
  • Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine
  • Where Do We Go from Here:  Chaos or Community?
  • Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America
  • A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet
  • Howard Zinn on Race
  • Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign
  • 1000 Chairs
  • A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin
  • Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Life
  • Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down
  • Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History
Taylor Branch (born January 14, 1947, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American author and historian best known for his award-winning trilogy of books chronicling the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and some of the history of the American civil rights movement. The third and final volume of the 2,912-page trilogy — collectively called America in the King Years — was released in January 2006. Branch live ...more
More about Taylor Branch...

Share This Book