It’s bold to start an account of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. without a single mention of James Earl Ray. But in Hellhound on His Trail, Ray’s absence is essential–in his place, Hampton Sides traces the alter egos Ray created after escaping from prison and beginning his haphazard journey toward Memphis. Sides meticulously constructs parallel portraits of two very different men–one, the larger-than-life figurehead of the Civil Rights movement; the other, a nondescript loner with a spurious and violent history, whose identity was as fluid as his motives. The narrative builds to the staggering and heartbreaking moment of King’s assassination, then races on through the immediate fallout: the worldwide manhunt led by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI; Ray’s nearly successful attempt to flee to Rhodesia; and the riots that erupted throughout the United States as racial tensions reached a breaking point. Sides’s storytelling packs a visceral punch, and in Hellhound on His Trail, he crafts an authoritative and riveting account of two intersecting lives that altered the course of American history.
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (March 22, 2011)
- Language: English