Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson

Published by Scholastic

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Summary:  After James Earl Ray assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, he was able to elude an international manhunt for more than two months.  James Swanson, author of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and other books about assassins, tells the stories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Earl Ray leading up to the moment their lives intersected.  He then goes on to detail the desperate attempts to save King’s life, and Ray’s escape to Canada and London, where he was finally arrested.  The impact of the assassination on the country and the FBI’s tenacious hunt for the killer (despite J. Edgar Hoover’s hatred of MLK) are also detailed. There are plenty of photos throughout the text and over 100 pages of back matter, including places to visit, timelines, source notes, extensive bibliographies divided by topics, and a very complete index.  384 pages; ages 12 and up.

Pros:  A gripping history (I was almost late for work as I approached the moment of the assassination and didn’t want to put the book down) that is also extremely well documented.  The reading lists are complete enough to use for an entire college class. Even reluctant readers will get caught up in the narrative.

Cons:  This length of the book may be off-putting to some readers, which is unfortunate; with all the photos and back matter, it is really a pretty quick read.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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