Book Review of: A Call to Conscience
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of A Call to Conscience, by Clay Carson
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Inspiring, informative, and soul-stirring, this tape brings to life
the original recordings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Having grown up in the era of the Vietnam war and
civil rights demonstrations, I got this tape thinking it would help
me remember some of the key issues of the time and compare them to where
we are now. What I was not expecting was the emotional and spiritual
journey this tape took me on--it was a journey at a speed that made
me look for my seat belt.
Let me interject a personal note here. I am not
an African American. I am not black, but neither am I white. My family
name is an "Americanized" version of a Sicilian name. While
my family did not emerge from slavery on southern plantations, it
did emerge from near slave conditions in Sicily. I would also like
to note that Sicily was invaded by the African Moors, as is evident
by the curly hair and nose structure of modern Sicilians--and by the
fact we get sickle cell anemia (whites do not get this disease).
Italian-Americans, who make up 6% of the
USA population also underwent an era of extreme prejudice and discrimination--as
did African-Americans, who make up 13% of the American population.
Some people malign Dr. King as "that nigger
who riled up all the niggers." (Sorry, I do not personally use the N word; I'm just providing a quote here and it includes that terribly offensive word.)
Others said he was moving too fast.
Others said he was asking for too much. And on and on. What these people
fail to realize is Dr. King wasn't riling up anybody. He was not an
agitator. He made a call to love. When you listen to his speeches, this
all becomes very clear. I am not comparing King the Man to Christ the
Lord, but to condemn his call to love does compare him to Christ and
does condemn both King the man and Christ the Lord. To my mind, that
is hypocritical and presumptuous.
In his speeches, Dr. King presented such concepts
- African-American slaves are not rightful property
and never were. These people were kidnapped from their homes in the
area of the Gold Coast.
- The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared
all men (grammatical convention makes the pronoun gender-neutral in
this context) equal. Yet, 100 years later, American people of color
had actually moved backwards in relation to "white people."
King presented incontrovertible evidence of the nullification of the
Emancipation Proclamation and the abandonment of law and order that
allowed suppression and oppression of an entire race of people.
- The segregation movement was part of a "divide
and conquer" strategy to keep poor whites--especially poor Southern
whites in their place by creating an even lower class.
- As a unit, African-Americans have more wealth
than most countries--including France!
- No violent uprising has ever succeeded, unless
it had the support of the general population. African-Americans did
not have, and could not possibly have, such support in the USA.
- A violent uprising by African-Americans could
never come to any possible good. At the outset, it would increase
fear and mistrust. The government would be duty-bound to squash it,
and had the power to do so. Violent uprisers would have to defeat
the local police, then the county police, then the state police, then
the state militia, then the National Guard, then the US Armed Forces--not
exactly the recipe for success.
- But non-violent action could succeed. This is
what Dr. King espoused.
Dr. King said two conditions existed:
- Power without love--this characterized the white
- Love without power--this characterized the black
His goal was to combine power with love--not for
black people, but for the brotherhood of mankind. His vision was that
people would be judged by their character, not by the color of their
This tape concludes with an incredibly moving speech,
given to an audience of 10,000 in Tennessee. To hear a
sample clip of the last minute of that awesome speech, click here.
It was Dr. King's last speech, given the day before a killer stopped
Dr. King's campaign of love and brotherhood by severing Dr. King's spine
just below his chin.
Dr. King's killer was James Earl Ray (pictured at left). I cannot hate
Mr. Ray for this. Mr. King's family does not hate him for this. Mr. Ray
has always protested he did not act alone. The efforts of the King family
to get a solid investigation and final resolution on this issue have been
squelched at every turn. Hear Mr. Ray reply to Dexter King's question,
"Did you kill my father?"|
battle is not over. Oppression still exists--even his assassin has being
oppressed over the objections of Dr. King's survivors. Today, we have
the IRS confiscating property without substantiation and without due process.
Many of the victims are African Americans. Other slights and injustices
continue. Will America ever become truly civilized? That is a question
we can answer only by taking up the call to love and the call to freedom.
It is a call you your conscience. What is your answer? |
go to the mountaintop.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds
of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it
dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for
reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have
to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such
reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of
people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a
problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards
such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
The reviews I do will, contrary to emerging trends, actually tell you about
the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I
remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review
contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader
about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but
revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book
About your reviewer
- Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I
listen to audio books.
- Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too
short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or not
substance. That leads into my next point...
- In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
- I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher
submitted it to the local paper.
- For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left
that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that
publication (and for other publications).
- No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm
presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing
than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I
stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably another 6,000
articles ago! (It's been a while).
- I have an engineering degree undergrad and an MBA. That helps explain my
methodical approach toward reviews.
- You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect
score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for
whatever it's worth.
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate.
But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as
you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed
reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is
great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in
graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading,
and that pleasure is a big part of why I read to begin with.