Susan Odetta's Reviews > Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides
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's review
Dec 16, 13

really liked it

MLK was assassinated on my 20th birthday in 1968. Washington, DC and other cities were torched in anguished response. I remembering fearing anarchy and civil war; the times were deeply paranoid, with the Vietnam War, J. Edgar Hoover and his use of the FBI in his personal vendetta against MLK, not to mention Watts, George Wallace, Stokely Carmichael et al. But reading this account made me realize those times were even worse than I ever knew. This story is not so much about MLK, although it contains some of his story, but about a jail-escapee-speed-freak nobody who stalked and killed Dr. King in Memphis, and his subsequent flight, pursuit by the FBI, apprehension, and later another jailbreak and re-apprehension. James Earl Ray was a racist loser, a loner, into speed, smack, porno and prostitutes, a man who never had a friend or a real relationship, with animal or human, in his life. A man who never looked anyone in the eye, who did his best to be un-noticeable, a nobody who changed his name every few months. The really scary thing about the story of the assassin is that he was fueled by the same racist hate rhetoric that we hear today ad nauseum from career-politicians and cable TV pundits, which, after reading this account, made me fear even more for the life of President Obama. There are assuredly more racist losers out there who are listening to these rants and who are capable of cunning and violence. As Coretta King commented on her husband's murder, "There were many fingers on the rifle." This is a fast and frightening tale taken directly from our own not-so-distant history. In the words of Coretta King at her husband's funeral, "How many men must die before we can have a free and true and peaceful society? How long will it take?"

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