Jed Dietz

Influential Books

May 04, 2008|By Catherine Sudue

Jed Dietz founded the Producer's Club of Maryland to attract movie and television production to the state. A few years later, he started the Maryland Film Festival. This weekend, the festival marks its 10th anniversary.

But he chose as his favorite books works that have not yet made it to the big screen: Taylor Branch's trilogy on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dietz says he likes this work because "it introduces a different tale about America's political activism in its most profound form."

"PARTING THE WATERS: AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS 1954-63"

It is full of character and introduces historical people that nobody's ever heard of. It explains a very historic struggle and Dr. King's political genius.

"PILLAR OF FIRE: AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS 1963-65"

The next chunk of time is an extension of the workings of participatory democracy. You see triumph and defeat, the spill of natural forces that split people up, and you see how tough those forces are. You begin to see people work through problems and understand issues of poverty.

"AT CANAAN'S EDGE: AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS 1965-68"

You see the country come together from its downs to its ups. This book is full of people I've never heard of who acted courageously or shrewdly. ... It shows people in America joining, making, helping and forming.

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