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The Sword and the Shield

Author: Joseph Peniel

Basic Books, New York, 2020, pp. 384

This book focuses on the role of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in the movement for rights for Black Americans. The author contests the standard view that they were rivals, and that Malcolm X was the radical exponent of violence challenging King's more moderate and peaceable approach. The author, a historian at the University of Texas, argues that their view of the United States and their strategies for achieving justice tended to converge over time, as King grew more radical in his later years and Malcolm X moved towards a more nuanced political approach. But they had separate power bases and styles of communication.