Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell both changed the world through language and ideas.
King and Orwell receive fresh evaluations in recently released major biographies.
Jonathan Eig's life of King presents the fullest portrait yet of the slain civil rights leader, according to reviews and articles. Eig was the first King biographer to examine recently released FBI files involving King.
Author D.J. Taylor gives a similar updated evaluation of the author of "1984," "Animal Farm" and classic essays.
Taylor investigated recently released documents for his "New Life" of Orwell, which updates his previous biography of the writer, published in 2003.
Eig, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote acclaimed biographies of Muhammad Ali and Lou Gehrig, told the Guardian that he had access to thousands of FBI documents, which include the agency's recordings of King during extramarital affairs. J. Edgar Hoover's organization attempted to blackmail King with the recordings.
The biography also discloses tha King's often repeated criticism of Malcolm X was based on an inaccurate interview by author Alex Haley and that the two civil rights giants admired each other. The book shows King as more radical than the standard portrayal.
Orwell and King shared a belief in the truthful use of language and the advancement of human freedom.
The two major biographies affirm their continued relevance.