The Sword and the Shield (Hardcover)

The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

By Peniel E. Joseph

Basic Books, 9781541617865, 384pp.

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

List Price: 30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

This dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King upends longstanding preconceptions to transform our understanding of the twentieth century's most iconic African American leaders.

To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, the sword vs. the shield. The struggle for black freedom is wrought with the same contrasts. While nonviolent direct action is remembered as an unassailable part of American democracy, the movement's militancy is either vilified or erased outright. In The Sword and the Shield, Peniel E. Joseph upends these misconceptions and reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define.



About the Author

Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He has written several previous books on African American history, including Stokely: A Life. He lives in Austin, Texas.


Praise For The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

"The Sword and the Shield is a landmark. It is what happens when one America's greatest historians of African America shines the same light on two of African America's greatest historical figures. Peniel Joseph deploys his supreme talents as a biographer and movement historian to interweave the world-shattering lives of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X."—
Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist


"Peniel Joseph is an omnivore historian with a gift for synthesizing fact and ideas into a vivid, accessible package. In The Sword and the Shield, he has reconciled two dissonant icons in a satisfying, intimate blend of narrative and insight."—Diane McWhorter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

"In this brilliant, timely, and eloquently written dual biography, Peniel E. Joseph, a leading scholar of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power era, not only demonstrates his command over Malcolm X's and Martin Luther King Jr.'s activism and thought, but also his penetrating understanding of the black freedom struggle and the times and events that inevitably shaped his subjects. A profound and important book, The Sword and the Shield will shape how future generations interpret Malcolm's and King's monumental contributions to American culture, politics, and democracy."—Pero G. Dagbovie, author of Reclaiming the Black Past: The Use and Misuse of African American History in the Twenty-First Century

"Peniel Joseph has written the civil rights history for our time. He explains how partisanship has distorted the legacy of a movement that promoted the citizenship and dignity of all Americans. Joseph recounts how the iconic civil rights leaders worked in tandem to unleash the common potential of American democracy, and how we must all do the same today. This is a deep book that will move readers to action."—Jeremi Suri, author of The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office