Book Cover Image of The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E. Joseph

The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
by Peniel E. Joseph

Publication Date: Mar 31, 2020
List Price: $30.00
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9781541617865
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: Perseus Books
Parent Company: Hachette Livre

Hardcover Description:

This dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. 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.

“em>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 the AALBC bestseller, How to Be an Antiracist

“Arguing against facile juxtapositions of the political philosophies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Peniel Joseph has written a powerful and persuasive re-examination of these iconic figures, tracing the evolution of both men’s activism. em>The Sword and the Shield provides a nuanced analysis of these figures’ political positions in addition to unfolding the narratives of their personal lives. Well-written and compelling, this important new book brilliantly explores the commonalities between the political goals of Malcolm and Martin.&rdquordquo;
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

“em>The Sword and the Shield is a masterwork of bold historical revisionism that will change how we think of the dynamic relationship between Harlem’s Hero Malcolm X, and America’s Apostle Martin Luther King, Jr. By probing their distinctive styles of social combat, and by examining the historical contexts of their evolving, complex and often interrelated philosophies of race and political transformation, Joseph shows how each man was bigger than the sum of his competing symbolic parts. Joseph destroys the one-dimensional views of their ideological conflicts, and roots both figures in the cultural milieu and racial maelstrom that marked the age they inherited and shaped. By showing how Malcolm and Martin started as adversaries, then became rivals, and eventually, on occasion, unwitting compatriots in global black resistance to oppression, Joseph brilliantly illumines the defining personalities at the heart of the black freedom struggle during the height of its revolutionary expression in American history.”
Michael Eric Dyson, author of Jay-Z: Made in America