A CALL TO CONSCIENCE: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In his introduction, the one-time ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young refers to MLK as "the voice of the century," and this collection deftly pays homage to that powerful voice. Carson (a Stanford University historian) and Shepard have compiled 12 of King's greatest speeches and prefaced them with touching and inspiring introductions written and read by prominent activists, leaders and theologians, including the Dalai Lama, Sen. Edward Kennedy and others. There's a lot more here than the "I Have a Dream" masterpiece (which is beautifully introduced by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women). The material ranges from King's early talks in Alabama churches to the magnificent "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, which he gave the night before his assassination. Many of the recordings have a raw quality, giving them authenticity. When King proclaims in his address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association mass meeting that democracy is "the greatest form of government on earth," the attendees' background cheers are so deafening that listeners will have to turn down the volume. The only element lacking in this noteworthy production is an adequate set of liner notes—there are no dates for the material showcased, nor do the editors tell which speeches are on which CD. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover. (Jan.)