1987: David J Garrow
Bearing the Cross / The Political Life of Children / When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution
1987: David J Garrow

The 1987 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award was presented to David J. Garrow for Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Bearing the Cross is among the most comprehensive books ever written about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Based on more than seven hundred interviews with and enhanced by the author's access to King's personal papers and tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents, Bearing the Cross is a powerful portrait of a man and the movement to which he dedicated himself.

David J. Garrow is Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University School of Law. He has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and the College of William and Mary. He served as a senior advisor for Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning PBS-TV documentary history of the American Civil Rights movement.

Honorable Mention: The Political Life of Children by Robert Coles

Robert Coles, one of the most eminent child psychiatrists in the world, spent over a decade researching this book and its companion volume, The Moral Life of Children. Coles visits children all over the world, listening with willing ears, and he captures their thoughts and feelings with remarkable sympathy. As Coles demonstrates in this fascinating work, children learn much more than we think they do about political issues. While we have always taken it for granted that parents teach their children about language, religion, and morality, Coles shows how mothers and fathers also instill a strong understanding of political life in their offspring.

Honorable Mention: When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution by Elizabeth Becker

Award-winning journalist Elizabeth Becker started covering Cambodia in 1973 for The Washington Post, when the country was perceived as little more than a footnote to the Vietnam War. Then, with the rise of the Khmer Rouge in 1975 came the closing of the border and a systematic reorganization of Cambodian society. Everyone was sent from the towns and cities to the countryside, where they were forced to labor endlessly in the fields. The intelligentsia were brutally exterminated, and torture, terror, and death became routine. Ultimately, almost two million people—nearly a quarter of the population—were killed in what was one of this century's worst crimes against humanity.When the War Was Over is Elizabeth Becker's masterful account of the Cambodian nightmare. Encompassing the era of French colonialism and the revival of Cambodian nationalism; 1950s Paris, where Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot received his political education; the killing fields of Cambodia; government chambers in Washington, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Hanoi, and Phnom Penh; and the death of Pol Pot in 1998; this is a book of epic vision and staggering power. Merging original historical research with the many voices of those who lived through the times and exclusive interviews with every Cambodian leader of the past quarter century, When the War Was Over illuminates the darkness of Cambodia with the intensity of a bolt of lightning.