November 11, 2020 8:36 AM EST

In mid-20th-century America, two men stood at the crux of the civil rights movement and the fight for social justice: one had a rough childhood, became a leading voice for working-class Black citizens and argued for racial separatism; the other was a middle class boy who grew up to be a legendary preacher and proponent of nonviolence in the fight for integration. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. wanted the same thing—equality for Black Americans—but they approached that vision from very backgrounds and by different means. In this brilliantly braided biography, Peniel E. Joseph tells the story of each man’s identity and how their ideas shaped America, making clear that we can never fully understand one without the other.

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