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NRB Book Club: Hellhound on His Trail, The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

Posted on June 17 2010 6:00 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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No matter how much–or how little– you already know about the details of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. by James Earl Ray, you will be spellbound by Hampton Sides’ superb new book, Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin.

Hampton focuses on stortytelling here, fashioning a narrative, that, like a nonfiction Day of the Jackal, is made no less fascinating or suspenseful by the fact that we know the outcome of events.

Hampton’s portrait of a tired, fatalistic King near the end of his rope, and transitioning from the fight from racial equality to a fight for economic equality– aka democratic socialism– will surprise some conservatives who forget where King was heading at the time of his assassination.  Hampton pulls no punches on Jesse Jackson’s “waving the bloody shirt” to get attention and claim a role he didn’t deserve.

The chilling portrait of the still enigmatic James Earl Ray, a sociopathic criminal drifter looking for meaning in his life is chilling, though Ray is still impenetrable.  However, while debunking them is not the purpose of the book, conspiracy theories make little sense when one reads this detailed narrative.

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