Home All 2017 Popular Book Lists

Baldwin James (2017 Most Popular Book Lists)

$16.99
1. The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected
$18.50
2. James Baldwin: Early Novels and
$4.91
3. Go Tell It on the Mountain
$15.49
4. The Fire Next Time (HRW Library)
$18.69
5. James Baldwin : Collected Essays
$16.27
6. James Baldwin's Turkish Decade:
$9.24
7. Another Country
$7.00
8. If Beale Street Could Talk
$6.98
9. Nobody Knows My Name
$9.99
10. Old Greek Stories
$4.00
11. Notes of a Native Son (Beacon
$8.94
12. Just Above My Head
 
$7.55
13. Going to Meet the Man: Stories
$9.85
14. Stories of Don Quixote Written
 
15. James Baldwin's George Washington
 
$49.99
16. The Price of the Ticket: Collected
$9.49
17. The Evidence of Things Not Seen
$7.24
18. Giovanni's Room
$0.01
19. Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography
$1.58
20. The Story of Siegfried

2017 buy books shipping

1. The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings
by James Baldwin
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2010-08-24)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$16.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0307378829
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

The Cross of Redemption is a revelation by an American literary master: a gathering of essays, articles, polemics, reviews, and interviews that have never before appeared in book form.
 
James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the past century, renowned for his fierce engagement with issues haunting our common history. In The Cross of Redemption we have Baldwin discoursing on, among other subjects, the possibility of an African-American president and what it might mean; the hypocrisy of American religious fundamentalism; the black church in America; the trials and tribulations of black nationalism; anti-Semitism; the blues and boxing; Russian literary masters; and the role of the writer in our society.
 
Prophetic and bracing, The Cross of Redemption is a welcome and important addition to the works of a cosmopolitan and canonical American writer who still has much to teach us about race, democracy, and personal and national identity. As Michael Ondaatje has remarked, “If van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, Baldwin [was] our twentieth-century one.”

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not all "uncollected" or even "written" but Baldwin shines
It's always a great pleasure to return to Baldwin's unmatched prose. The first thing you ask of a writer is that he can write (a question too rarely answered in the affirmative), and Baldwin used the English language as well as anyone has done.

This brings me to the first of a few quibbles about the book. A few of the longer pieces are not in fact "written", or at least not written in the form presented here. I don't know the extent to which Baldwin wrote a script for his speeches, but he clearly didn't stick to it. And he certainly didn't write the words he spoke in debates and discussions. A couple of the longer pieces fall into this "unwritten" category. And while the pieces may never have been collected together in one volume, many have certainly been collected somewhere, as half were familiar to me and only one of those from its original source.

The more significant problem is that while some of the writing in here is as good as anything Baldwin has written, a lot of it is relatively casual (insofar as Baldwin's writingwas ever casual) and ephemeral stuff. In passing we learn how much effort and care went into "Another Country" and the "Down at the Cross" (the major part of "The Fire Next Time"), and you wonder what Baldwin would have thought of a rather random collection of pieces like this one. It would certainly be a shame to begin your knowledge of Baldwin with this book.

But there is more than enough great writing, passion and (over four traumatic decades) consistent bravery of thought and analysis to savour and encourage you to revisit the best of his writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Soul on Fire
Randall Kenan, author of LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD and A VISITATION OF SPIRITS, has edited the uncollected writing of James Baldwin for which we can all be grateful. The book is divided into Essays and Speeches, Profiles, Letters, Forewords and Afterwords, Book Reviews and Fiction. The writings cover 1947 when Baldwin was writing book reviews until the year of his death in 1987 when Baldwin was at the height of his powers in what is one of the best articles included here, "To Crush a Serpent."

No subject is off limits for Mr. Baldwin as he writes unflinchingly about white racism, Jews, black power, black English and religious fundamentalism. He has an open letter to Angela Davis and essays on Sidney Poitier and Lorraine Hansberry. Baldwin is a hard marker. In his review of the novel THE MOTH by James M. Cain-- probably most famous for THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and DOUBLE INDEMNITY-- he says simply "Mr. Cain is no novelist: he has, indeed, his first sentence still to write; he has yet to achieve his first valid characterization." But it is Mr. Baldwin on the role of the Negro in America that he is sharpest and that he will probably be remembered for in a hundred years rather than his book reviews. I can think of no writer who has written better or with more passion on race in America than this great writer.

Time and time again Baldwin refers to what he calls "the nighmare of history" and laments that no one seems to learn from that history. In his essay "The Price May Be Too High," he opines that white people are beyond hope."And to persuade black boys and girls that their lives are less than other lives is "the sin against the Holy Ghost. He reminds us that slave labor made this country wealthy and that the American prison is filled with dark people. Baldwin does not mince words when it comes to white politicians, in particular Bobby Kennedy who could not understand why a black man would not want to take up arms to fight for this country. The Italian and other immigrants in this country spend their lives hating their parents, refusing to speak Italian in an effort to become American or upwardly mobile. Or as Baldwin says so eloquently, anyone making it in England did not get on the Mayflower. About fundamentalist religion, he says that the "Right Reverend Robertson" does not know the man from Galilee and that fundamentalists do not know that poor people exist. He sees white ministers and deputy sheriffs as one and the same. Finally Baldwin laments that President Eisenhower's favorite writer is Zane Grey. (He believes, by the way, that Henry James is America's greatest novelist.)

But for all of Baldwin's jeremiads, he hopes in the essay "Black Power" that "something will happen in the human heart that will change our common history." But if that something doesn't happen, then black people should remember that they come from a long line of runaway slaves "who survived without passports."

Although Mr. Baldwin has been dead almost 25 years, one wonders what he would think about our first black president. (He asked in one of his essays the question: why would a black man want to be president?) I fear that he would find many things the way he left them. Although integration may have come to the White House, sad to say, ours is still a segregated country where children in black and Latino neighborhoods often go to inferior schools and-- to paraphrase another fine writer of color-- too often find their dreams of a better life deferred.







... Read more


2. James Baldwin: Early Novels and Stories: Go Tell It on a Mountain / Giovanni's Room / Another Country / Going to Meet the Man (Library of America)
by James Baldwin
Hardcover: 992 Pages (1998-02-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$18.50
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1883011515
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
With burning passion, the authority of experience, and asharp, epigrammatic wit, these essays articulate issues of race,democracy, and American identity. This edition--the most comprehensivegathering of Baldwin's nonfiction ever published--presents thecomplete texts of the landmark collections "Notes of a Native Son"(1955) and "Nobody Knows My Name" (1961); "The Fire Next Time" (1963),a classic analysis of America's racial divide; "No Name in the Street"(1972); and "The Devil Finds Work" (1976); and 36 more essays,including nine never before collected.Amazon.com Review
A novelist, essayist, playwright, and public intellectual, James Baldwin's writings on the subject of race in America undeniably made him one of the greatest African American writers of the 20th century. As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the two decades following World War II, Baldwin landed squarely in the public eye, and his prose communicated the hope and frustration of the fight for racial equality. In James Baldwin: Early Novels and Stories, editor Toni Morrison draws heavily on Baldwin's early work, including his first novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, as well as Giovanni's Room, which was praised by the New York Times for its "unusual candor ... and intensity." As pertinent today as it was some 30 years ago, the fiction found in this collection is powerful, eloquent, and a fitting tribute to a consummate writer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The quality of Baldwin's writing is superb
aside from any considerations of his significance (great) in discussions of race or homosexuality. Baldwin was a great writer and one comes away from this collection with many gifts.

4-0 out of 5 stars A valuable edition of some of the best writings on race.
The Library of America is engaged in publishing definitive texts of the best-known writing in the U.S.Including James Baldwin in this series - and having Toni Morrison edit these volumes - has generated considerable critical review.It is remarkable that James Baldwin can still exercise so much hold over us.Both the fiction and the essays have a kind of raw power: it makes us realize how sensitive the nerve of "race relations" still is."Go Tell It on the Mountain" - one of the early autobiographical stories - has already become an American classic.Baldwin's homosexuality and his ambiguous feelings towards the white establishment makes this a painful coming-of-age novel.There is no easy access to some one so at-odds with himself and his society - and no greater rewards for anyone interested in the literature of self-discovery.These are fine volumes.They are well worth owning and belong on the shelves of anyone interested in American literature.Not all collections are worth having.The Library of America - and these Baldwin volumes - are worth owning, and they are certainly worth reading. ... Read more


3. Go Tell It on the Mountain
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 240 Pages (2000-06-13)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$4.91
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0385334575
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
"Mountain," Baldwin said, "is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.Amazon.com Review
First published in 1953 when James Baldwin was nearly 30, Go Tell It on the Mountain is a young man's novel, as tightly coiled as a newspring, yet tempered by a maturing man's confidence and empathy. It's not a long book, and its action spans but a single day--yet the author packs in enoughemotion, detail, and intimate revelation to make his story feel like a mid-20th-century epic. Using as a frame the spiritual and moral awakening of14-year-old John Grimes during a Saturday night service in a Harlem storefront church,Baldwin lays bare the secrets of a tormented black family during the depression. John's parents, praying beside him, both wrestle with the ghosts of their sinful pasts--Gabriel, a preacher of towering hypocrisy, fathered an illegitimate child during his first marriage down South and refused to recognize his doomed bastard son; Elizabeth fell in love with a charming, free-spirited young man, followed him to New York, became pregnant with hisson, and lost him before she could reveal her condition.

Baldwin lays down the terrible symmetries of these two blighted lives as the ironic context for John's dark night of the soul. When day dawns, John believes himself saved, but his creator makes it clear that this salvationarises as much from blindness as revelation: "He was filled with a joy, a joy unspeakable, whose roots, though he would not trace them on this new day ofhis life, were nourished by the wellspring of a despair not yetdiscovered."

Though it was hailed at publication for its groundbreaking use of black idiom, what is most striking about Go Tell It on the Mountain today is its structure and its scope. In peeling back the layers of these damaged lives,Baldwin dramatizes the story of the great black migration from rural Southto urban North. "Behind them was the darkness," Baldwin writes of Gabriel and Elizabeth's lost generation, "nothing but the darkness, and all around themdestruction, and before them nothing but the fire--a bastard people, far from God, singing and crying in the wilderness!" This is Baldwin's music--amusic in which rhapsody is rooted anguish--and there is none finer inAmerican literature. --David Laskin ... Read more

Customer Reviews (91)

4-0 out of 5 stars Go Tell It On The Mountain
James Baldwin, Go Tell It On The Mountain.1952.Dell Publishing.
ISBN: 0-440-33007-6

James Baldwin's,Go Tell It On The Mountain, tells the story of two generations of an African-American family who began their migration from the south to the northern city of Harlem beginning in 1900. John, the 14-year old stepson of Gabriel Grimes, begins our journey as an up and coming preacher on his 14th birthday, March of 1935. Walking that night with his family to the storefront church in Harlem, the story jogs backward to the previous generation's struggles migrating north to escape the oppressions both outside and inside the family--finding its way back to the storefront church to witness John's cathartic awakening.Each family member has his or her own riveting story of the past, yet each is interdependent and leads back to young John's awakening. John, a young black man in 1930's Harlem must deal with a religious zealot of a step-father, a community of poverty and violence; yet he finds hope in this insular black community in America which preached the self-worth and intelligence of the black for the first time.Baldwin speaks through a style of veiled biblical references dotted with nuggets of prose that transcend any race and time. This recommended read will challenge and grab you at the same time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lacking a certain something
In my mind, as I was reading this, I could not chase away the comparison to Richard Wright's Native Son (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations).A simple gloss on the plots of both would tell you the same thing.A young African-American man grows up ina northern city during the early part of the twentieth century.

The cultural conditions are different for Wright's proxy character and Baldwin's.Bigger's cultural antagonist is white culture, while John's is the religious inheritance of his people.While the world of _Go Tell it on the Mountain_ makes me feel less guilty and indignant than the milieu of Bigger Thomas's Chicago, the world is more alienating because so unfamiliar.

The unfamiliarity carries over to the structure of the book.While it ends and begins in the same place, the bulk of the text is discursive and showing the back-story behind John's life.I kept finding myself on my toes tracing where I was.While this can be an effective technique to really think about what is going on, it does take the reader away from the story.

For me, this is a narrative with some momentum, so it is troubling that Baldwin uses the structure to slow the reader down.The book is powerful and well-written, but it is lacking a certain something that you can find in The Fire Next Time (HRW Library) that I cannot fully place but is not here.

1-0 out of 5 stars To this day, the worst book I've ever read.
I first read Go Tell It On The Mountain when I was in junior high and found myself bored, annoyed, and on the verge on giving it back to the library without finishing it (which I never do). I slogged through endless pages of "lordy lordy help me stand" "hallelujah" and othersuch near-maniacal religious zealot ramblings that had nothing to do with anything.

The story is about a boy who is growing up, and his family has problems. It's not a huge book, but without all the frenzied Jesus-babbling, it could have been edited into a decent short story. It literally got to the point where I could skim through entire pages of nonsense to find any actual action, which was usually just "he shut the door and sat down in a chair" and then back to the crazy.

I read it again in near the end of high school and hated it even more. Won't be picking this up ever again and wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Follow The Northern Star
One of the side events of the 2008 American presidential elections, the one that resulted in the election of the first black president, was the widespread exposure of the role of the black church as a central social, political and religious institution in the black community, for good or evil. That centrality, the subject matter of black writer James Baldwin's first novel back in the early 1950s and from there carried back by him to his youth in the 1930s, is longstanding. Moreover, the black church and its activist clergy, despite it long role as adhesive, healer, protector and face of the black community is not an unambiguous legacy as Baldwin, very wickedly, and profoundly demonstrates here.

Baldwin uses the old tried and true novelistic devise of using a two-tier plot structure to delve into the lives, the loves, the likes and lies of two generations of a black family, a family that although it found itself in the North, in the black metropolis of Harlem, had deep and continuing roots in the old worn-out land of the South that most of the characters fled, willingly or unwillingly, at some point. The first tier discusses the present status of most of the main figures, including the transparently autobiographical John and his "father", Gabriel, a born-again Christian preacher, a character not unknown in the black community. The second takes place through personal recollections in a store front, primitive Christian church, also not an unknown phenomenon in the black community, or the white one for that matter.

The details of the various relationships of the very mixed clan can best be appreciated by the reader. What I would note here, as I have noted elsewhere when discussing James Baldwin's work, is his ear for the various voices of the black community even though he himself seemed, by the facts of his biography to have been fairly removed from the mainstream of the black community. He clearly knows "religion" and the role it plays in the community. Also of the teutonic struggle between the old ways of the de jure segregated South and the de facto segregated North. While I am more devoted to the works of Langston Hughes as an exemplar of black literary blues, James too knows that condition. James can sing those chords. And the late Norman Mailer was not wrong when he noted that his contemporary, Baldwin, in 1950s America was "one of our few writers". I will say amen to that.

5-0 out of 5 stars go tell it on the mountain
The books condition is completely brand new it has no markings of nay kind, no scratches or bends either. It was as if the person never opened the book, ever. The shipment arrived on time and was in good condition. ... Read more


4. The Fire Next Time (HRW Library)
by James Baldwin
Hardcover: 167 Pages (2000-10)
list price: US$19.73 -- used & new: US$15.49
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 003055442X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Since it was first published, this famous study of the Black Problem in America has become a classic. Powerful, haunting and prophetic, it sounds a clarion warning to the world.Amazon.com Review
It's shocking how little has changed between the races in thiscountry since 1963, when James Baldwin published this coollyimpassioned plea to "end the racial nightmare." The Fire NextTime--even the title is beautiful, resonant, and incendiary. "Do Ireally want to be integrated into a burning house?" Baldwindemands, flicking aside the central race issue of his day and callinginstead for full and shared acceptance of the fact that America is andalways has been a multiracial society. Without this acceptance, heargues, the nation dooms itself to "sterility and decay" and toeventual destruction at the hands of the oppressed: "The Negroes ofthis country may never be able to rise to power, but they are verywell placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain onthe American dream."

Baldwin's seething insights and directives, so disturbing to the whiteliberals and black moderates of his day, have become the startingpoint for discussions of American race relations: that debasement andoppression of one people by another is "a recipe for murder"; that"color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a politicalreality"; that whites can only truly liberate themselves when theyliberate blacks, indeed when they "become black" symbolically andspiritually; that blacks and whites "deeply need each other here" inorder for America to realize its identity as a nation.

Yet despite its edgy tone and the strong undercurrent of violence,The Fire Next Time is ultimately a hopeful and healingessay. Baldwin ranges far in these hundred pages--from a memoir of hisabortive teenage religious awakening in Harlem (an interestingcommentary on his first novel Go Tell It on theMountain) to a disturbing encounter with Nation of Islamfounder Elijah Muhammad. But what binds it all together is theeloquence, intimacy, and controlled urgency of the voice. Baldwinclearly paid in sweat and shame for every word in this text. What'sincredible is that he managed to keep his cool. --David Laskin ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars probably would have not read it if it wasn't assigned
I love this book and it really expose the flaws with religion and our society .

5-0 out of 5 stars Tai's QuickViews: Five Stars
I admire this book. Here are some quotes from this striking work:

If the concept of God has any validity or any use it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of him.

it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.

theology and religion are used to sanctify our fears, crimes, and aspirations

people tend to band behind something that takes away personal responsibility.

to accept one's past, one's history, is not the same thing as drowning in it. it is learning how to use it. an invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.

if one is continually surviving the worst that life can bring, one eventually ceases to be controlled by a fear of what life can bring.

5-0 out of 5 stars That's Right- Not Water, Fire Next Time
Now I have been, as is my wont when I get "hooked" on some writer, on something of a James Baldwin tear of late, reading or re-reading everything I can get my hands on. At the time of this review I have already looked at "Go Tell It On The Mountain", "Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone", and "If Beale Street Could Talk." Frankly those works, while well written and powerful, did not altogether remind me why I was crazy to read everything that Baldwin wrote when I was a kid. The Baldwin black liberation manifesto (and, maybe, white liberation as a by-product), "The Fire Next Time", "spoke" to me then and after forty years still "speaks" to me now in so-called "post-racial" Obama time.

Back in the early 1960s I used to listen to a late night talk show on the local radio station in Boston. Many times the host would have Malcolm X on and the airwaves would light up with his take on white racism, black nationalism and the way forward for the black liberation struggle- and away from liberal integrationism. Now in those days I was nothing but a woolly-headed white, left liberal "wannabe" bourgeois politico kid who believed in black liberation but in the context of working within the prevailing American society. I was definitely, and adamantly, opposed to the notion of a separate black state on the American continent if for no other reason that it would look something like the then existing ghettos, writ large, that I was committed to getting rid of and a set up for black genocide if things got too hot. And I still am. So, on the one hand, I admired, and I really did, Malcolm X for "speaking truth to power" on the race question while on the other disagreeing with virtually every way he wanted to achieve it.

Now that scenario is the predicate for James Baldwin's assuredly more literary, but seemingly more hopeful, way of getting the thread of the Malcolm X message about white racism out while posing the possibility (or, maybe, necessity) of joint struggle to get rid of it. In my recent re-reading of "The Fire Next Time" I was struck by how much of Baldwin's own hard-fought understandings on the question of race intersected with The Nation Of Islam, Malcolm at the time, and Elijah Mohammad's. Oddly, I distinctly remember debating someone, somewhere on the question of black nationalism and using Baldwin's more rational approach as a hammer against the black nationalists. I probably overdrew his more balanced view of a multiracial American then, if not now.

Still, Jimmy was onto something back then. Something that airy-headed kids like me, who thought that once the struggle in the South was won then the struggle in the North could be dealt with merely by a little fine-tuning, were clueless about. Don't smirk. But do note this: while only a fool or political charlatan, would deny that there have been gains for the black population since those civil rights struggle days the pathology of racism and, more importantly, the hard statistics of racism (housing segregation, numbers in the penal system, unemployment and underemployment rates, education, and a whole range of other factors) tell a very different story about how far blacks really have come over the last half century. A story that makes "The Fire Next Time" read like it could have been written today. And to be read today. Thanks, Jimmy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Thesis
James Baldwin is a fantastic writer.I completely agree with his all of his main points and believe that they still apply today.His description of his meeting with Elijah Muhammad was the highlight.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good buy
Although baldwin has had heaps of negative feedback for his writing-I enjoyed the book. It depicts the civil rights probably less malicously about whites than most books which is why he was critized but it was a good read. ... Read more


5. James Baldwin : Collected Essays : Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other Essays (Library of America)
by James Baldwin
Hardcover: 869 Pages (1998-02-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$18.69
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1883011523
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
"Collected Essays" is the most comprehensive gathering of Baldwin's nonfiction ever published. The collection confirms his as a uniquely prophetic voice in American letters. Included are such famous essays as "The Harlem Ghetto", "Everybody's Protest Novel", Many Thousands Gone", and "Stranger in the Village" .Amazon.com Review
Writer James Baldwin earnestly championed the civil rights movement in both his fiction and nonfiction, a fact which, coupled with his extraordinary writing talent, assured not only his historical importance, but also his place as one of the finest African American writers of his generation. Collected Essays is a comprehensive collection of his most memorable prose, including "Stranger in the Village," "The Harlem Ghetto," and "Many Thousands Gone." Clear in voice and vision, the essays communicate the emotions of an entire historical movement. Combining politics, prophecy, and passion, Baldwin's essays are truly as thought-provoking today as they were some 30 years ago. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars James Baldwin: Collected Essays
One of the greatest writers of the 1900's. Excellent physical book. Well-made and aesthetically pleasing.

During the time period, Baldwin creates a reality that few understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for the Serious Scholar's library
This collection of Baldwin's writings is priceless because not only is it a showcase of an agile and fertile mind, it also brings together in a single volume some of his most popular and more famous as well as some of his less formal writings and speeches.

Always well ahead of his times, Baldwin's essays remain fresh and as relevant in today's more quiescent racial times as they were during the more troubled times of his life.They remain fresh because they tell in Baldwin's own inimical and elegant way, the deeper truths about our troubled racial past and present.Most of all they reflect how Baldwin used his quick and restless mind to critique the social and artistic scenes of our troubled era:His strategy, reflected in this collection, was always to mine the substance from the subtext upwards. Those of us who try to mimic his techniques can learn a lot from this and the companion volume of his collected works.

At the same time, Baldwin's psychological analysis remains unerring and at least as sharp as, if not sharper than those of some of his French contemporaries, including his friends and compatriots in the struggle, Franz Fanon and Jean Paul Sartre, who also were both not only revolutionaries and revolutionary thinkers like Baldwin, but also a Psychiatrist and a Philosopher, respectively.

No library on the history of race in America or France is complete without this well designed and well-organized volume. Five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like Nothing Else You've Read
A lot of reviewers have talked about owning this book if you are distinctly interested in collecting works by black authors or in black studies. I think that this book is an essential element to anyone's library, in particular people interested in the craft of writing. Toni Morrison calls Baldwin the greatest essayist of the 20th century and I couldn't agree more.
In this collection of essays, it becomes clear that Baldwin has truly perfected the craft of the essay. Not only is Baldwin's content, his concepts of honesty and truth, of light and dark, right and wrong, of white and black, and much more straight up revolutionary, but he manages to have his content reflected in the craft and style of each essay, which should really be the goal of all writers.
More than anything, Baldwin has an exquisite ability to reveal a complex truth in a simple concise way. All of these essays, indeed all of Baldwin's works, have one common thread. And that is that TRUTH is found within contradiction, because contradiction is honest. I think anyone who browses this page should immediately try and at least check this out of their libary (though it's definitely worth owning, every time I reread it I discover new things) because it really will effect you in meaningful ways.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great book -- A worthy part of a great series
I love James Baldwin--I think he's a tremendous writer, so Toni Morrison could hardly go wrong in selecting essays for this volume.All of the selections are excellent.Notes of a Native Son contains a touching eulogy for Richard Wright ("Alas, Poor Richard"), explaining the lonliness and problems Mr. Wright had at the end of his life.Baldwin displays his tremendous range as both a political commentator and a literary critic.The Devil Finds Work, in particular, is very insightful--and several parts humourous.

What I don't understand--and why I struck a star off this collection--is why Ms. Morrison did not include "Evidence of Things Unseen," Baldwin's analysis of the Atlanta child murders from the early eighties.Perhaps Library of America is planning later volumes of Baldwin's works--The companion volume to these essays is his "Early Novels," most notably "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Giovani's Room."I can't imagine that Library of America would not produce a volume including Mr. Baldwin's later works--especially "Just Above my Head."

This particular edition is well worth having--despite the price.First, this is a good collection of Baldwin's essays, many of which are difficult to find.Second, the Library of America really does a commendable job in paper quality and binding.This is not a leather bound edition on 50 pound paper, so stiff you can't open it and printed so the back binding looks impressive on your bookshelf--this is tightly bound, cardboard cover that lies flat, and is easy to read.The paper is not heavy--but acid free, and tear resistant.The Library of America series are good collections that are meant to be read many times, by many people--these books hold up very well.

I am afraid that Mr. Baldwin's works and opinions may fall by the wayside as time passes.The fact that Ms. Morrison--one of our best and most respected authors--put these collections together will certainly help keep Mr. Baldwin's works alive.But if you have any interest in what it means to be African American--in the twenties, to contemporary america--through even tomorrow--You need to read and appreciate Mr. Baldwin's insights.And you will also enjoy his clear, careful, and pointed writing.

3-0 out of 5 stars review
This book was very interesting and i enjoyed the courage of a young black man to stand up for his rights. ... Read more


6. James Baldwin's Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile
by Magdalena J. Zaborowska
Paperback: 416 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.27
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0822341670
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Between 1961 and 1971 James Baldwin spent extended periods of time in Turkey, where he worked on many of his most important books. In this first in-depth exploration of Baldwin's "Turkish decade," Magdalena J. Zaborowska reveals the significant role that Turkish locales, cultures, and friends played in Baldwin's life and thought. Turkey was a nurturing space for the author, who by 1961 had spent nearly ten years in France and Western Europe and failed to re-establish permanent residency in the United States. Zaborowska demonstrates how Baldwin's Turkish sojourns enabled him to re-imagine himself as a black queer writer and to revise his views of American identity and U.S. race relations as the 1960s drew to a close.

Following Baldwin's footsteps through Istanbul, Ankara, and Bodrum, Zaborowska presents many never before published photographs, new information from Turkish archives, and original interviews with Turkish artists and intellectuals who knew Baldwin and collaborated with him on a play that he directed in 1969. She analyzes the effect of his experiences on his novel Another Country (1962) and on two volumes of his essays, The Fire Next Time (1963) and No Name in the Street (1972), and explains how Baldwin's time in Turkey informed his ambivalent relationship to New York, his responses to the American South, and his decision to settle in southern France. James Baldwin's Turkish Decade expands knowledge of Baldwin's role as a transnational African American intellectual, casts new light on his later works, and suggests ways of reassessing his earlier writing in relation to ideas of exile and migration. ... Read more


7. Another Country
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 448 Pages (1992-12-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$9.24
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0679744711
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, Another Country is a novel of passions--sexual, racial, political, artistic--that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime. In a small set of friends, Baldwin imbues the best and worst intentions of liberal America in the early 1970s. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Great Chasm
Recently, in a blog entry, I went on my "soap box" to speak about those now seemingly endless references, by black and white liberals alike, to the `good old days' of the black civil rights movement and how far the black liberation struggle has come here in America so that even one (harried and vilified) black man can be President of the United States. This sentiment is codified by the `post-racial' aura (or rather, in truth, the `benign neglect' aura) that surrounds the subject of race lately. By reference to the the good old days these liberals have simply appropriated the catch words of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, names, forever, associated with the high-water marks of resistance to black segregation back in the early 1960s to their own uses. Moreover, to embellish the myth they have created a Martin Luther King who apparently was nothing short of the black `messiah' rather than a man made of clay, a great deal of clay, and in turn have emasculated Malcolm X, the real "truth to power" speaker on race of the era, into a harmless icon suitable for framing.

The author under review, James Baldwin, fortunately, would have none of that. He, in a less overtly inflammatory and more literary but nevertheless powerful way, was in that Malcolm X "truth to power" mode. And, my friends, some of his books, including Another Country make my case, and his case, far more eloquently than this writer ever could. Here is a man hard, hard church-brought up as only fundamentalist churches can distort a child, preacher father-raised and beaten-down for doing things, right or wrong, racially put upon incessantly whenever he stepped outside the Harlem prison-ghetto where he was sentenced yet who did not duck the hard, hard truth that native son he might be but `invisible' native son was the real program for those with black skin.

Another Country is another of those multi-themed Baldwin efforts, the now familiar ones of interracial marriage, adultery, bi- and homosexuality, the blindness of white racism, and the hard, hard fact of trying to be seen while black, poor, and gay in America (and elsewhere, for that matter). The sexual and interracial scenes center on the relationships of various black and white characters of various sexual preferences who inhabit New York's 1950s bohemian Greenwich Village (with a little Left Bank, Paris vignette thrown in), or who want to. The most impressive aspect of this piece is the very strong sense that one gets that while the white characters are sympathetic to the blacks, in their own narrow way, they were clueless to the "another country" aspect of black existence. I have , repeatedly, made the point that that "invisibleness", except now in certain high profile quarters, afflicts the perceptions of whites today as well. Thus, one can well afford to read this work with that continuing premise in mind rather than read it comfortably as some pre-"post-racial" screed. Thanks, James.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Novel
The categories that human beings turn to for intelligibility seem inescapable:gay or straight, black or white, male or female.Despite the fact that such categories confer intelligibility, Baldwin is acutely aware they need to be resisted.So how to recognize what categories do to make one's humanity visible and at the same time resist them.This central issue is what this novel tries to figure out.It's answers are never comforting.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Another Country--but which one ?"
Somebody wrote that the past is another country.This is certainly true, but Baldwin was writing about contemporary America at the time, so by `another country' he didn't mean the past.Now, though, all the old hipster language, the incredible reliance on smoking and drinking, and the tons of race hatred and racial hypocrisy that suffused the 1950s, definitely describe the past.Our hatreds, hypocrisies, and addictions have changed, our times throw up their own dilemmas.This most painful but powerful novel definitely will evoke another country now---America in the 1950s.But that wasn't Baldwin's intent.

To me, the lives of a few Bohemians in Manhattan are also another country to which I only travelled once or twice, as a kind of young, ersatz tourist in sneakers from New England.The complex relationships, the lack of concrete ambitions or perhaps the lack of concrete action towards realizing those ambitions, the convoluted sexual connections, the addictions, the betrayals and jealousies---all belong to `another country', a world outside usual America in the 1950s and outside the life that most people have to live.

Then, for White America in the 1950s, Black America was certainly another country, less-visited than Tibet.Baldwin hammers home his views on black-white relationships and interactions, views that were red hot in 1961, but rather passe now.But was this the "other country" he wanted to depict in the novel ?He has six main characters and two minor ones.Only two are black.If Black America was his "other country" he certainly went about describing it in a strange way.

For straight people, homosexual or bisexual relationships are "another country".Baldwin wrote about this very vividly too.Fifty years ago homosexuality was shocking and a perfect representation of "otherness" for most people.He himself lived in that other, unknown country, and perhaps to escape the violence and hatred of both gender and race bigotry, he exiled himself, as does Eric in the novel, to another country across the ocean.

Real, lasting love with honesty is scarce in any era.Perhaps those few people who attain such a state can be said to live in another country, uncharted and undiscovered by the majority.Do any of the characters in ANOTHER COUNTRY actually reach this country ?You'll have to decide for yourself, but you can be sure that Baldwin stresses the pain and anguish it takes to get there.You might say that this novel focusses too tightly on a small, ingrown group of rather unatttractive people living in an unappealing bohemian mess.Betrayal, anger, suicide, weakness, jealousy, violent passions, and raw ambition mark the pages.But Baldwin's masterly insight into human nature, his views of America's race problems in his time, and his wonderful descriptions of New York make this a classic novel, one of 20th century America's best.I found it a painful but gripping experience.The question of which "country" he writes about must be answered in each reader's mind.

3-0 out of 5 stars He had it but he lost it
For the first 75 relentless pages of this novel you know you are in the hands of a consumate artist.The brutal story of Rufus, a now homeless but once gifted, jazz drummer, starts off grim and gets progressively grimmer.Baldwin's mix of rage and compassion is breathtaking and very emotionally effecting.

After the fury and punch in the gut honesty of the first 75 pages, we get 300 pages of stilted, tin-ear dialogue, cocktail party chit chat and purple "zexy zexy" prose. Baldwin lost his edge somewhere along the way.He had it without a doubt.But somehow he lost it.

We also get the character of a bisexual actor who cures both men and women of the their emotional problems simply by going to bed with them.
Which is a heck of a party trick.

Neither of the major female characters quite manage to come alive and the story of the interracial love affair that probably was very daring in its day is rather dull, unconvincing and lifeless today.

After a furious sprint to start, Another Country dissipates and dissipates and finally limps to the finish.

I am tempted to think the first chapter of this book was written when Baldwin was still young and unknown and the rest was written after he had a few bestsellers and he had found the literary party circuit.That is purely conjecture on my part, but part of this book seemed to be written by a hungry lion and the rest of the book seems to have been written by a bloated fat cat.Just theorizing though.

Frustrating for what this book could have been.Because for a while there it came very close to being the best and bravest book ever written by an American. But midway through, he lost the edge.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
I had my book shipped to me in no time!The quality was superb and overall the service was excellent!No complaints here. ... Read more


8. If Beale Street Could Talk
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 208 Pages (2006-10-10)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0307275930
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Mean Streets Of America- Baldwin-Style
Recently I started a review of a film documentary, "Lenny Bruce: Without Tears", using the following lines that I find appropriate to use to set the same kind of tone in reviewing James Baldwin's 1974 novel, "If Beale Street Could Talk":

"Okay, the average black male kid on the average ghetto city block today knows, and knows without blinking, and knows from some seemingly unspoken source deep within his genetic structure that the cards are stacked against him. That the cops, the courts, or some other part of the "justice" system will, eventually, come knocking at the door or grab him off the street for something, usually dope. The average Latino male kid on the average barrio city block pretty much now knows that same thing, again usually on some bogus drug charge. And nowadays even young black and Latina women are getting that same message coded into their psyches."

And that sums up the message behind Baldwin's' work, at least the message that will last and that should be etched in the memory of every fighter for social justice.

Now I have been, as is my wont when I get "hooked" on some writer, on something of a James Baldwin tear of late, reading or re-reading everything I can get my hands on. At the time of this review I have already looked at "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and the play "Blues For Mr. Charlie". Frankly those works, while well written and powerful did not remind me why I was crazy to read everything that Baldwin wrote when I was a kid.
The theme of the first work mentioned, a story of a fourteen year black boy coming to terms with the power of religion over his life did not today "speak" to a man who at fourteen was running as far away from religion as he could get. The second, based on the 1950s Emmett Till murder, again is well written but the facts of that case are enough in themselves to drive the action. And drive us, once again, to say Mississippi goddam. This book under review, "If Beale Street Could Talk", although, perhaps not as well-written does "speak" to me these forty years later.

And why? Well, as the female narrator of this tale, "Tish", notes being black while breathing, being black while being male, being black while breathing in the "projects", being black while breathing and at the tender mercies of the white-run "justice system from the cop on the beat to the judge on high is enough to give one pause. And that sums up the story line, except this. Baldwin has gotten to some core truths about being on the "outs" and left to one's own resources when the cards are stacked, no, double- stacked, against you. Now for those who may read this book, and you should, in so-called "post-racial" Obama America doesn't it read like it could have been written today? I mean the today of the real mean streets of black existence in America. Think about just that statistic on the very high probability that a young black male will be in jail, on the way to jail, just out of jail or on parole before he gets very old and that "speaks" to a very different reality. Nice work, James.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Beale Street Blues...
But can you understand the lyrics if you have not also lived the anguish?

Baldwin's novel is set in Harlem, in the `70's. It is a love story set in adversity, with Tish, a 19 year old pregnant, and her lover, 22 year old Fonny (Alanzo) unjustly imprisoned on trumped-up charges. The novel also involves the interactions of their two respective families to the principal characters' dilemmas, and it involves the efforts of well-intentioned people to free Fonny. There have been several excellent reviews already posted on the specifics in the novel, and it would be superfluous to duplicate them.

After the recent presidential election, the publishing industry certainly is missing a golden opportunity by not issuing a "Baldwin retrospective," along the theme of "how far have we come, and how far have we to go"? I read my first Baldwin, "Another Country," while working in the steel mills in Pittsburgh (yeah, that was a long time ago), and consider that book, along with "Go Tell It to the Mountain" to be the more powerful. So I am doing my own retrospective, and found this still to be excellent book on the second read, and it is Baldwin's best depiction of heterosexual love.

A particular passage in the book might very easily transcend the specifics of the black-white relationship, and it is one measure that we have not come far enough when I must still uses some dashes to "save sensibilities" (and avoid the review censor) when even Baldwin, in the `70's was able to write out the entire word:
"That same passion which saved Fonny got him into trouble, and put him in jail. For, you see, he had found his centre, his own centre, inside him: and it showed. He wasn't anybody's ni----. And that's a crime, in this fu----- free country. You're supposed to be somebody's ni----. And if you're nobody's ni----, you're a bad ni----: and that's what the cops decided when Fonny moved downtown."
Almost 40 years on, America has a black president, and some blacks have moved out of the underclass. But the demands for "cheap labor" have created another underclass, 12-20 million "illegal immigrants," existing in a nether world, awaiting their own James Baldwin to tell their anguish. Baldwin's works can easily be read as polemics on power relationships in society, transcending racial relations. And since the `70's there has been a significant increase in the concentration of power, certainly economic, but in other ways as well with the so-called "war on terror," which increasingly means that it is a crime if you're not somebody's ni----, whether your male, female, black or white. "Going to Meet the Man" still resonates.

Baldwin, like Richard Wright before him, eventually gave up on America, and found solace in France. His final resting placing is high in the hills overlooking the Mediterranean, at St. Paul de Vence. Outside the "norm" on two fronts, his color, and his sexual orientation, he did indeed live the anguish, and captured it powerfully in words. Much progress has been made on these two fronts that have been used to separate us from each other, but there has only been regression on the concentration of power front.

Baldwin remains an essential read for today.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beale Street in Harlem
Although Beale Street was the fabled center of African American life and music in Memphis, this 1974 novel by James Baldwin (1924 -- 1987), with Beale Street as its namesake, is set in Harlem. The title is apt as Baldwin celebrates black life together with a great deal of black music. The themes of the novel include racism, family, and religion.But this book primarily is a love story.

The story is narrated by a 19 year old woman, Tish (Clementine) Rivers. Tish is in love with 22 year old Fonny (Alonzo) Hunt and Fonny is in love with her. Tish and Fonny have been sweethearts since childhood and have been called "Romeo and Juliet" by their neighbors and friends.As the story opens, Fonny is languishing in jail, the notorious "Tombs" in New York City, spuriouslycharged with the rape of a young Puerto Rican woman. Fonny's dream is to be a sculptor.Before his arrest, he had moved into a tiny "pad" near Grenwich Village where he tries to live the life of a young artist, working in wood and metal.Tish is pregnant with Fonny's child. Baldwin's story centers upon Tish's and Fonny'srelationship in this difficult circumstance with throwbacks to the development of their love for each other.

The story involves the relationship of the two families as well. Tish comes from a happy family.Her father, Joe, was a sailor before he settled down and took work on the docks. Her mother, Sharon, once aspired to be a singer. Tish has an older sister, Ernestine, who works helping troubled children. Ernestine finds a lawyer, a white man in his mid-30s named Hayward, to represent Fonny.

Fonny's family life is much less happy. His father, Frank, was a tailor but loses his shop and takes work in the garment district. Fonny's two sisters are college-educated and don't get along with Fonny. His mother, Helen, is member of a sanctified, evangelical black church.Baldwin shows a great deal of cynicism in this book about religion. Frank and Helen don't get along.

When Tish discovers her pregnancy, her family is supportive.In addition, Tish's family works tirelessly to free her fiance Fonny from jail. Frank, Fonny's father, is also shown positively in his support for the young couple and for his son. Helen and the daughters are sanctimonious and hostile because the couple have had sex before marriage and are having a child out of wedlock.

Baldwin's story is unapologetically romantic in that it urges the possibility of deep and lasting love between two young people.As against what he sees as religious teachings, Baldwin emphasizes the physical, increasingly sexual nature of the young couple's emotional relationship. Baldwin's understanding of man-woman love and its mysteries, which seems to include passion, possessiveness, and strong views of gender roles, does not seem to me fully consistent with the way many people today try to understand gender issues, with the contemporary emphasis on high personal autonomy, independence, and egalitarianism.

The novel is filled with racial anguish and anger as Fonny is set up and knowingly falsely accused by a New York City policeman. The love of the couple is contrasted to the racism of their surroundings and to the loathsome condition of the prison which threatens to deprive Fonny of his character and his manhood.

Baldwin's writing in this novel is uneven. The scenes between Fonny and Tish, the physical consummation of their relationship, and the depictions of the streets of New York are highly effective. When Tish speaks colloquially and toughly, the writing is believable and tight.But there are some windy abstact passages in this book in which the young girl speaks in the not-so-persuasive -- or interesting --language of the adult Baldwin. Also, Tish offers narrations of many scenes in the story which she did not herself witness such as interactions between Frank and Joe at a bar, meetings between Tish's mother and the lawyer, and Tish's mother's trip to Puerto Rico to meet the young Puerto Rican woman that Fonny allegedly raped to try to get her to change her story. The young woman had been sent back home by the district attorney.The book does not adequately expain the source of Tish's knowledge of these incidents. Thus these second-hand reported scenes tend to be unconvincing. The book also comes to a quick and abrupt ending.

Baldwin has written a love story that rewards the telling and an angry criticism of racism. "If Beale Street could Talk" is not the best of Baldwin'sbooks but it is worthwhile.The book made me want to read more of Baldwin.

Robin Friedman

4-0 out of 5 stars WOW!
I really enjoyed reading this book.I lost myself in the time and really thought I was there.But then realized that our present time has not changed that much.Except for the fact that people don't seem to fall in love that hard anymore and that thought saddens me.I wonder why this book was not a part of my readings as a Literature major?

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story
I have read this book about 4 times and as a teacher have my students read it when I teach human development classes. This book captures the essence of racism, poverty and social justice. It is one of James Baldwin's best novels! ... Read more


9. Nobody Knows My Name
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 256 Pages (1992-12-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.98
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0679744738
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Told with Baldwin's characteristically unflinching honesty, this collection of illuminating, deeply felt essays examines topics ranging from race relations in the United States to the role of the writer in society, and offers personal accounts of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and other writers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars "...was because the specific social climate which had produced it,...seemed archaic now ...was fading from our memories."
James Baldwin is quoting a woman, upon the death of Richard Wright, concerning his novel, "Native Son."The same sentiment can be used to describe this collection of essays by James Baldwin. It really was a different era, archaic to us now, before Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, back when segregation, de facto or legal, was very much the rule in America. Most of the essays discuss events in the late `40's or `50's, and underscore how far we have come, now that we have elected the first American black president, but also how many other issues, particularly those related to power, remain much the same. A few years after the Second World War, Baldwin, driven by no doubt the same forces that sent Wright there, sought solace in voluntary exile in France.

Baldwin starts his first essay by quoting from the quintessential author of the white elite, Henry James, on what it means to be an American. Baldwin goes on to describe that only when he was in France, and had some perspective on the matter, did he realize that he also was an American. His second essay concerns the first black writer and artist conference, held in Paris in 1956, when almost all the participants were still literally coming from colonies. It was billed as a "second Bandung" a reference to the conference that was held in that Indonesian city in 1954 that commenced the "non-aligned movement," the Third World countries who wished to neither join the American or Soviet blocs. In other essay he has returned to America, and gives his views on the development of Harlem (and it is not positive.)

He also conducts some brilliant interviews, taking his first trip to the South, and interviewing the white principal of the school which had just commenced de-segregation with its first black pupil.The pupil is also interviewed, as well as his parents. In another interview he goes to Stockholm, and interviews film director Ingmar Bergman.

In other essays he addresses the relationships he had with some of the literary figures of the era, certainly including his "mentor," Richard Wright, and the eventual alienation from him that was never closed. He also had an on again, off again relationship with Norman Mailer, and was truly stunned when Mailer seriously ran for the position of Mayor of New York. He was dubious of Wright's friendship with Sartre and de Beauvoir, who he thought were using him as so much "window dressing."He has rather scathing comments to make about William Faulkner, who saw so much, but not enough, alas, and pushed his "Middle Way" on desegregation, and Jack Kerouac, who spoke of wandering through the "colored sections" of Denver, and imagining the "ecstasy" of being black.Baldwin said:"Now, this is absolute nonsense, of course, objectively considered, and offensive nonsense at that: I would hate to be in Kerouac's shoes if he should ever be mad enough to read this aloud from the stage of Harlem's Apollo Theater."

I could go on, but fortunately there is an excellent review of this book posted by D Cloyce Smith that gives additional insights. Baldwin remains relevant today, to indicate the distance we have traveled; he "ages" quite well, within his final resting place high on the hill, overlooking the Mediterranean, at St. Paul de Vance. We can only speculate on what he'd think seeing Blacks so fully integrated into media images, and how a certain segment of America has now decided to demonize Muslims.Even though this is not his greatest work, and his homosexuality will only come out in those, he still deserves the full 5-stars for this collection of early essays.

4-0 out of 5 stars More Notes of a Native Son
Bearing the subtitle "More Notes of a Native Son," "Nobody Knows My Name" is a follow-up to Baldwin's earlier, more famous book. Originally published in national magazines between 1954 and 1961, these essays are more mature, if less biting, than his first collection--and they are certainly just as witty. With one notable exception, they are timeless and trenchant commentaries on racial and cultural issues.

The first group of eight essays focuses on the political and social divides in the United States. The opening article reiterates the discovery he made in "Notes of a Native Son": that by living in Europe he paradoxically discovered what it means to be an American. Others examine the despicable inhumanity of a Harlem public housing project ("cheerless as a prison"), the success of the student movement and the rise of Muslim power in black politics ("a very small echo of the black discontent now abroad in the world"), and the first efforts to integrate Southern public schools ("the entire nation has spent a hundred years avoiding the question of the place of the black man in it"). The two most memorable essays detail the daily bravery, trauma, and humiliations of a schoolboy who is the first black in an all-white school and respond to Faulkner's despicable remarks on race (which were made when Faulkner was seemingly drunk and which were later repudiated when he was atypically sober).

The only disappointing essay is "Princes and Power," an account of Le Congres des Ecrivains et Artistes Noirs (Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists). The internal disputes and lofty goals of this gathering--convened to consider "the history of Euro-African relations" and the postcolonial "cultural inventory"--did not lack for interest, and Baldwin ably relates the tensions between and cross-purposes of American blacks and Africans. But, overall, he seems to be just phoning it in, muffling the obvious passions of the conference participants and highlighting instead the abstract academic tone.

The second and final group of five essays highlight cultural subjects. He follows a speech detailing the outline for an imaginary novel with biographical appraisals of Andre Gide, Ingmar Bergman, Richard Wright, and Normal Mailer. His eulogy for Wright, initially composed and published in three disparate parts, simultaneously expresses regret for Baldwin's youthful criticism of the older author that resulted in the irreparable destruction of their friendship and recounts Wright's sad social decline: "he had managed to estrange himself from almost all of the younger American Negro writers in Paris ... [who] had discovered that Richard did not really know much about the present dimensions and complexity of the Negro problem here, and, profoundly, did not want to know."

But the gem of the collection is "The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy," Baldwin's tongue-in-cheek account of his friendship with Normal Mailer, written both as not-so-subtle payback for Mailer's criticism of Baldwin in the self-indulgent "Advertisements for Myself" and as a tribute to Mailer's talent and "responsibility" as an artist. After sending off a number of barbed (yet good-natured) repartees, Baldwin acknowledges not only Mailer's importance as a "very good friend" but also his worth as a writer. Baldwin's assessment of that career serves at as fitting coda to Baldwin's own essays: "His work, after all, is all that will be left when the newspapers are yellowed, all the gossip columnists silenced, and all the cocktail parties over, and when Norman and you and I are dead."

5-0 out of 5 stars Nobody Knows My Name Is Timeless
For my humanities class I was instructed to read an autobiography of my choice. Through shuffling through the library for an autobiography that I can actually read and appreciate I stumbled across this great James Baldwin title. Nobody Knows My Name is a collection of his writing while he was self exiled in Europe. I opened the book with excitment and urgency. As the words regestired in my head I began to realize that the experiences he described articulated exactly how I feel as a black man in American society.
Each essay discussing another aspect of society or the life of a black man in the world I grasped with utter enthusasim. His observations and theories were articulate critical and insightful. James Baldwin's tales of another continent are intising and informative of where our society was and how it is still the same in many ways.
If you are interested in Baldwin's previous writings or African American authors and perspective I know you will enjoy this combiation of essays.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great esssays from one of America's best authors
This collection of essays show James Baldwin as he strives to figure out who he is as a writer, as an American and as a black man.Beginning with his self-imposed exile to Paris in the 1950's, he calls his own identity as both a black man and an American into question.The Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists which met in 1956 showed him just how different Europeans and Africans viewed cultural identity and hinted at ostracizing the American contingent.And he felt distinctly American in that crowd.Through his essays about returning to Harlem, his criticisms of William Faulkner ("Faulkner and Desegregation"), his review of a work by André Gide, his dealings with author Richard Wright, his friendship with author Norman Mailer ("The Black Boy Looks At the White Boy"), and his interview with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Baldwin displays his own feelings at finding his own identity as both man and writer in a world that tries to both accet and to reject him at the same time.

Powerful essays from one of America's best authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest, Critical, Sincere, Moving, Black, Human!!!
what i love about baldwin is that he does not have delusions of grandeur about himself - unlike many blacks in the public sphere.this book of essays on society and his personal experiences in the US and abroad is majestic b/c baldwin has a way of writing about complexities of people and societal issues in an introspective yet practical way.although i was impressed with every essay, his essay on richard wright was mindblowing.BUT YOU HAVE TO READ IT FOR YOURSELF!i think it is a great book for black and latin men to read.in doing so many bruhs - if they are honest - will find that they are as similar baldwin as we like to believe are are to malcolm x.either way, you do not go wrong as both were great human beings.in short, i was totally edified by this text.It will easily make my top 10 list - which is very, very, very difficult. ... Read more


10. Old Greek Stories
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 110 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B003VTZD7M
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Old Greek Stories is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by James Baldwin is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of James Baldwin then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mythology for kids
This is a book of Greek mythology which I assumed would be for adults, but it's obviously for kids. It has stories of Jupiter, Venus, Juno and other gods, and familiar tales like Prometheus giving fire to humans, Medusa and Perseus, Atalanta and the apples, and more. I deliberately and happily know nothing about kids, so I have no idea what age group the book is appropriate for. ... Read more


11. Notes of a Native Son (Beacon Paperback)
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 192 Pages (1984-07-09)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0807064319
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Originally published in 1955, James Baldwin's first nonfiction book has become a classic. These searing essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and Americans abroad remain as powerful today as when they were written.

"He named for me the things you feel but couldn't utter. . . . Jimmy's essays articulated for the first time to white America what it meant to be American and a black American at the same time."
-Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Notes Of A Righteous Son
Recently, in a blog entry, I went on my "soap box" to speak about those now seemingly endless references, by black and white liberals alike, to the `good old days' of the black civil rights movement and how far the black liberation struggle has come here in America so that even one (harried and vilified) black man can be President of the United States. This sentiment is codified by the `post-racial' aura (or rather, in truth, the `benign neglect' aura) that surrounds the subject of race lately.By reference to the the good old days these liberals have simply appropriated the catch words of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, names, forever, associated with high-water marks of resistance back in the early 1960s to their own uses.Moreover, to embellish the myth they have created a Martin Luther King who apparently was nothing short of the black `messiah' rather than a man made of clay, a great deal ofclay, and in turn have emasculated Malcolm X, the real "truth to power" speaker on race of the era, into a harmless icon suitable for framing.

The author under review, James Baldwin, fortunately, would have none of that. He, in a less overtly inflammatory and more literary but nevertheless powerful way, was in that Malcolm X "truth to power" mode. And, my friends, some of the essays in this book make my case, and his case, far more eloquently than this writer ever could. Here is a man hard, hard church-brought up as only fundamentalist churches can distort a child, preacher father-raised and beaten-down for doing things, right or wrong, racially put upon incessantly whenever he stepped outside the Harlem prison-ghetto where he was sentenced yet who did not duck the hard, hard truth that native son he might be but `invisible' native son was the real program for those with black skin.

And why is James Baldwin a truth-teller, a "talented-tenth" truth-teller who has something to teach us today in racially "benignly neglectful" America. Well, read about his Harlem of the 1930s and 40s. Sound familiar? Read about his going "South" in those days, not the urban corridor South but the outskirts? Sound familiar? Read the title essay about a proud black man (James' father) beaten down by the deeply internalized pathologies that race and poverty create. Hell, even read his little puff piece about protest social novels where he takes his literary distance from his "Native Son" father, Richard Wright. Yes, a few more James Baldwins are on the order of the day. Let the liberals have their old timey memories. Just stay out of James' way.


5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic for everyone.
One of my all-time favorite books.Baldwin writes about racism in Harlem to American displacement abroad and conveys loss of identity in a way anyone can relate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant After 40 Years
Notes of A Native Son, a series of essays written by James Baldwin in the late 40's and early 50s, still has many relevant things to say about the topics it covers, mainly race in America, nearly forty years after its publication. Baldwin takes on many subjects:he bites the hand of his former mentor, Richard Wright (in some old fashioned younger writer states why he is free from his older counselor style) in "Everybody's Protest Novel."Baldwin fights for the writer's right to create not from any political or social agenda, but merely for art's sake.But he also has trenchant and pointed things to say about race in American, and about white/black relations in general.In the concluding essay, "Stranger in the Village" he writes of the experience of being the first person of Africa descent to visit a small Swiss village.The prose is insightful and bold; the observations cutting and remorseless.Notes of A Native Son fully deserves its place in the pantheon of contemporary American classics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Baldwin is brilliant
Baldwin's reasoning, deduction and ability to convey deeply personal thoughts with such command and authority are part of what make this book of essays so riveting.
In "Notes of a Native Son" I began to understand more about the author through his relationship, or lack of relationship, with his father. And in "Equal in Paris or Stranger in the Village," I was transported into a dimension of racial prejudice that I have never experienced through prose before. As powerful today as it was then. A must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic American essays
Originally published in 1955 these essays are now considered American classics. Baldwin writes with tremendous pain, humor, and insight into the situation of what was then , 'the Negro' in America. He writes with insight into the situation of the young writer striving to locate himself in relation to Western civilization as a whole-which he feels he can never wholly belong to as he strives to belong to it. He writes most powerfully about the day of the dying of his father, and the birth of his youngest sister. His description of his own family situation, and of his father's life is instructive of the whole history of insult and injury which had long been the lot of the black in America. His estrangement from his father, and yet understanding of the story of his father's suffering is one of the powerful sections of the book.
It seems to me this book also has an effect unintended and unforeseen by Baldwin. Reading it fifty years later one understands how far America has come in transforming itself in regard to the racial question. Much of the kind of discrimination Baldwin so eloquently describes in for instance his story of his first jobs,does not exist in the same way any more.
In this sense the book also has along with its literary value , value as a historical document.
... Read more


12. Just Above My Head
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 592 Pages (2000-06-13)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.94
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0385334567
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
The stark grief of a brother mourning a brother opens this novel with a stunning, unforgettable experience.  Here, in a monumental saga of love and rage, Baldwin goes back to Harlem, to the church of his groundbreaking novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, to the homosexual passion of Giovanni's Room, and to the political fire that enflames his nonfiction work.  Here, too, the story of gospel singer Arthur Hall and his family becomes both a journey into another country of the soul and senses--and a living contemporary history of black struggle in this land. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Epic in its scope, human in its focus, and one of Baldwin's best
In some respects, "Just Above My Head" seems to be a successor to "Another Country"; Baldwin has taken the sexual and emotional imbroglios of his earlier novel and reimagined them on a broader historical and geographical stage, with characters whose interwoven lives are no longer confined to the bedrooms of New York. Grounding the narrative is the relatively straight-laced character of Hall Montana, the anti-Baldwin of the book, whose tender, middle-class worldview serves as calm counterpoint to the troubled, explosive, even neurotic lives of Montana's friends and--most of all--his brother Arthur.

Hall's coolness is almost essential to the novel because of messiness of the whirlwinds that swirl around him, in the form of three disparate yet overlapping families: his own childhood household, which provides a supportive environment for the fledgling musical career of his brother Arthur; the Millers, Baldwin's most brilliantly conceived dysfunctional family, whose exploitation of their coddled child-preacher daughter, Julia, all but insures their demise; and the Trumpets of Zion, four Harlem-based teenagers who form a gospel music quartet led by Arthur and who each meet a sordid and tragic end (murder, drug addiction, insanity, and alcohol-fueled death). Framing the novel and connecting the three groups is Hall's family in the "present day" of the 1970s, from which Hall looks back at how this motley crew lived through the turmoil of the civil rights era and the chaos of their own lives. We know at the outset of the book what happens to each of the main characters; we just don't know how they got there.

While the novel is ostensibly about Arthur, whose singing career peaks and wanes through the vagaries of international fame and notoriety, the most memorable and interesting character of the novel, aside from Hall himself, is Julia. One of the most worldly, enchanting women in modern fiction, Julia endures (and survives) early adulation, childhood incest, and prostitution to become an endearing suburbanite. Arthur, on the other hand, seems idealized at times--a stoic, somewhat jaded celebrity whose enigmatic aura proves hopelessly alluring to his friends and family and to his two lovers: Crunch, one of other members of the quartet, and Jimmy, Julia's underappreciated and seemingly unloved brother.

For its epic sweep, episodic structure, and epigrammatic wit, "Just Above My Head" ranks among the best of Baldwin's novels. While "Go Tell It on the Mountain" is still praised for its lyricism and "Giovanni's Room" is beloved for its passion, this book--his longest by far--combines both qualities on a vast social and historical panorama that never loses its focus on the lives of the very authentic human beings conjured out of the tumult of Harlem's streets. In his last great novel, Baldwin once again proves that the political is the personal.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
This is one of my favorite Baldwin novels. Only someonle with Baldwin's background could so poignantly express who Arthur was and how he felt about his music. An excellent piece and a must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Baldwin
This book is the best book I have ever read in my life.Its emotionally naked grappling with what race and violence has done to our country is painfully acute and brutally honest.Every American should read this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A reader
From the moment I read the first page, I have loved this novel. I have read it several times and each time the characters come to life and I find myself caring about them. Hall has to deal with so many issues--least of all, is Ruth the woman he truly loves or should he be with the evangelist? Arthur-the gay gospel singer who sometimes would just as well have a drink or a man than sing the gospel, but who sang it so well when he chose to. Then there are the complex lives of their friends and parents that seem so real and yet so tragic. Baldwin created a masterpiece!

5-0 out of 5 stars An artist of words
Probably one of the more underappreciated novels in American literature.It is unfair to charecterize Baldwin as merely a social critic of the civil rights era.He stands alongside Dickens as one of the great writers of any era, with the ability to articualte an understanding of human nature that trancends any era and stands second to none. ... Read more


13. Going to Meet the Man: Stories
by James Baldwin
 Paperback: 256 Pages (1995-04-25)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.55
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Asin: 0679761799
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob.

By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying--and informed throughout by Baldwin's uncanny knowledge of the wounds racism has left in both its victims and its perpetrators--Going to Meet the Man is a major work by one of our most important writers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book
But I had to read it for school so it felt like a chore to read it althoug I did find it a bit interesting at times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Come Ready, Brother
I have been, as is my wont when I get "hooked" on some writer, on something of a James Baldwin tear of late, reading or re-reading everything I can get my hands on. At the time of this review I have already looked at "Go Tell It On The Mountain", the play "Blues For Mr. Charlie", "Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone", and "The Fire Next Time". Those works, well written and powerful reminded me of why I was crazy to read everything that Baldwin wrote when I was a kid. I do not recall then having read any short stories by Baldwin, at least none that were memorable like one of the stories, "Sonny's Blues", in this "Going To Meet The Man" compilation.

Now great writers, and I hope at this point in our common American literary experiences no one need argue James Baldwin's place in the canon, sometimes are capable of writing both great novels and short stories. Baldwin seems to be in that category, although off of this selection it may be a bit premature to make that judgment because most of the material appears to have been "first drafts" of later, full novelistic treatments. For example, "The Morning, The Evening, So Soon", the subject matter of which is the fame of a expatriate black actor-singer who despite that fame is still subject to all the racial taunts and tensions of a stay-at-home performer. (I am writing this review just after the passing away of the pioneer black singer/actress/black liberation fighter, Lena Horne.) That subject gets fuller treatment in "Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone."

Other subjects that get a preliminary workout here are the deep religious experience of Baldwin's fundamentalist Protestant youth, "The Outing" that will get a full-blown treatment in "Go Tell It On The Mountain." Of course, the subject of homosexuality, and bi-sexuality, are obliquely presented in several stories, Baldwin, along with Gore Vidal being something of American literary pioneers, if not honored as such at the time, on the subject. And of course, as with all of Baldwin serious work, we are treated to various manifestations of the ever present "race" question; interracial sex and marriage; degrees of blackness; white racism; black attitudes toward white racism; and the purposeful insularity of the white world in dealing, or nor dealing, with these questions, then and now.

What you want to get this particular compilation for though, as I mentioned above, is for "Sonny's Blues". Now it is almost impossible to find any writer, any American writer at least, worth his or he salt who came of literary age in the 1950s who was not influenced, even if only around the edges, by "be-bop" jazz. Baldwin is no exception, although his race is not the only reason for that statement. The rhythm of the cool, abstract, high white note "be-bop jazz" that sent audiences into a frenzy of delight are a simple companion to the sparser, less lyrical literary beat of 1950's writing. Mailer, Kerouac, and most of the New York intellectual crew feasted, and feasted well, on that inner sound. But, nobody got it righter than James Baldwin in "Sonny's Blues."

What seemingly starts out as another one of Baldwin's epistles on, literally, brotherly love; that of two brothers, one, Sonny, several years younger than the other, who "grew up" in Harlem, grew away from each other by choice or circumstances,, reunited when now famed jazz pianist brother, Sonny, got caught up trying to reach that "high white note" via the "horse" drug connection that also has been associated with bop, turns into one of the best expositions of what jazz meant to the listener, and to the artist struggling to find his inner voice, that I have ever read.

The last several pages, in counterpoint to the first several, are truly lyrical as Baldwin puts in words on the printed page what a struggle it was for Sonny, and his fellow band members in New York cafe society, to "make the gods listen." And to make the heavens cry out for the high side of the human experience. You or I could try to write such lines for two hundred years and we could not get it right. Kudos, James.




5-0 out of 5 stars TORTURED SOUL
James Baldwin is a tortured soul. He pours his whole soul onto every page. This makes him one of America's greatest writers. His word pictures take you into the church, on a picnic, into a country farm house and into the lives of all his characters. Long Live James Baldwin. In our hearts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eight unforgettable stories of honest realism
James Baldwin is known primarily for his essays and his first two novels ("Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Giovanni's Room"), but I often tell readers that the place to start is with his first story collection, "Going to Meet the Man." Baldwin's short fiction is more straightforward and accessible than are his essays (which are indeed excellent); each of the eight stories presents a different aspect of Baldwin's worldview; and unlike his early novels, where racism is treated as one aspect in the lives of characters, several of these stories confront the "racial issue" full on.

Baldwin's short fiction may be easier to read, but it does not avoid uncomfortable truths. In fact, some of Baldwin's most heated writing can be found in this volume, which was first published in 1965. It contains work written over a 20-year-period, including "Previous Condition," the first piece of fiction he ever published (in Commentary Magazine in 1948). A fledgling actor is torn between the black world of Harlem ("perfectly in his element, in his place, as the saying goes") and the white neighborhoods downtown. He stays at a friend's apartment in lower Manhattan, but has to hide from the landlord and leave the building at odd hours to avoid being seen by the other residents ("Why don't you go uptown, where you belong?").

Each of the other stories is unforgettable in its own way, but my two favorites open and close the volume. "The Rockpile" is an early (yet different) version of an episode in "Go Tell It on the Mountain"; two of Baldwin's strengths are his ability to capture the memories of youth and to present the complexities of family life. The incendiary title story that ends the volume depicts a white police officer whose racial attitudes were formed by a lynching he witnessed as a child. Baldwin pits the very real horror of the police brutality experienced by a young man who attempts to register to vote against the officer's wholly imagined fear of the oversexed black stereotype.

This last story--indeed, much of Baldwin's later fiction--has been criticized (by biographer James Campbell, for example) for lacking "a neutrality which Baldwin was finding harder than ever to maintain" and an unwillingness to "concede that somewhere, somehow, this corrupted man might incorporate genuine goodness." Such comments seem unfair on two counts: the actions of some racists, while "pitiable," are still beyond redemption or "goodness," and (more to the point) I don't agree that it's a storyteller's responsibility to make lemonade out of every lemon.

So ignore the critics who argue that Baldwin's fiction lost its shine as he grew older and more cynical and less "neutral," and pick up this excellent collection of stories. I think you'll find that their bluntness and honesty and gritty realism make up for whatever stylistic faults the critics might point to.

5-0 out of 5 stars Painful. Almost too painful.
I am slowly understanding why Mr. Baldwin elected to leave the United States for more than a decade in the 1940s and 1950s. He apparently is on record as saying that he needed to flee because his anger was going to destroy him if he did not seek a respite from American injustice.

Upon reading this collection, I think I am really beginning to understand what must have been going through his mind. Read "Previous Condition" where a young African American man keeps being thrown out of hotels and denied jobs simply because of the color of his skin. There is nowhere he can go without meeting the hostile glances and conspiratorial whispers of people on the street simply because of his skin color. And there is a moment where it all came into focus for me, standing in the kitchen of his Jewish friend's Jules' apartment. And I quote:

"Oh," I cried, "I know you think I'm making it dramatic, that I'm paranoiac and just inventing trouble! Maybe I think so sometimes, how can I tell? You get so used to being hit you find you're always waiting for it. Oh, I know, you're Jewish, you get kicked around, too, but you can walk into a bar and nobody knows you're Jewish and if you go looking for job you'll get a better job than mine!" (78)

It is deeply disturbing to think that a person has the suspicion and rage of the world cocked against their temple, but that was how it was (and still is). I have read much about the Civil Rights struggle and as a Jew myself, have listened to many stories from members of my family about prejudice but these stories, they uncover something. After seeing what happened in New Orleans with Katrina and listening to the empty discussionsof "good schools", No Child Left Behind and test score mania, it opens your eyes to the fact that performance, optimism and opportunity are perceptions that, when absent, can ruin lives in ways that are hard to qualify.

I highly recommend these stories but be prepared to become deeply uncomfortable because Baldwin had a powerful case to make about American hypocrisy and he makes it. ... Read more


14. Stories of Don Quixote Written Anew for Children (Yesterday's Classics)
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 244 Pages (2007-07-15)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$9.85
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1599152126
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
A retelling for the youthful reader of the most interesting parts of Cervantes' great novel about Don Quixote, the eccentric gentlemanwho fancies himself a knight-errant. The adventures most appealing to children are included, and related in such a way as to form a continuous narrative, with both the spirit and style of the original preserved as much as possible. Suitable for ages 10 and up. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
This is a wonderful translation and is the perfect level for my 11 year old boy.We look foward toreading the next adventure every night.The fact that it is an old translation adds to the feeling of it coming from another time.Highly recommended! ... Read more


15. James Baldwin's George Washington
by James Baldwin
 Hardcover: 65 Pages (1932)

Asin: B0006ALNP0
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16. The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-fiction, 1948-85
by James Baldwin
 Hardcover: 712 Pages (1985-11-11)
-- used & new: US$49.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0718126408
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
The works of James Baldwin constitute one of the major contributions to American literature in the twentieth century, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Price of the Ticket, a compendium of nearly fifty years of Baldwin's powerful nonfiction writing. With truth and insight, these personal, prophetic works speak to the heart of the experience of race and identity in the United States. Here are the full texts of Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Devil Finds Work, along with dozens of other pieces, ranging from a 1948 review of Raintree Country to a magnificent introduction to this book that, as so many of Mr. Baldwin's works do, combines his intensely private experience with the deepest examination of social interaction between the races. In a way, The Price of the Ticket is an intellectual history of the twentieth-century American experience; in another, it is autobiography of the highest order.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Writer Few Seem to Know
James Baldwin is one of the most straightforward but complex American writers I have ever encountered.Best known for his groundbreaking works like "Giovanni's Room" and "I Don't Know How Long the Train's Been Gone," these essays - fascinating ruminations on race, gender, sexuality, cinema, and sometimes just the nature of fame itself - are artfully assembled.In this book, cover to cover, you see the work of a true intellectual - someone who evolves in his thinking as the years go by, someone whose even most casual observation is fraught with meaning because of an almost tragic refusal to "see" things for what anything other than what they are.Baldwin himself was a controversial figure - African American man of letters, gay, steeped in the culture of both the Haarlem Renaissance, the ecstatic church, and post-war Paris, a civil rights lion who was still unafraid to discuss the contradictions of a movement he feared would tear itself apart.But his writing is almost like reading the work of a magician, remarkable in its "passionate dispassion" and unflinching willingness to deal with subjects from his own unique point(s) of view, subjects others would eschew or refuse to touch.He is not a "comfortable" writer.His was an intellect and achievement that does the near impossible - deals with themes most "human" and yet seemingly transcends those very limitations, limitations that would have felled a lesser artist.At his best, he even achieves an eerie prescience, and not in some generalized fashion.His prose is not compromising.

I also note that some of Mr. Baldwin's lectures and interviews are now on YouTube.And those make great companions to any reading of his works.

I recommend this book without reservation.The work of a unique American "master" performing at his absolute best.

5-0 out of 5 stars The 3rd Eye of James Baldwin
Let me qualify my review by first telling you that I have read EVERY SINGLE PUBLISHED WORK by James Baldwin with the exception of one and that is because it is a first edition that I can't stand to crack along the spine.James Baldwin was and still is prolific- to say the least.He has the ability to distinguish both his objective and subjective observations in a single essay.He is the proliferation of the duo consciousness in America.His observations of social and political mores is nearly unparalleled for their relevance both yesterday and today. This is an outstanding compliment to the author but sad commentary on the state of US world, racial, environmental, social and sexual politics in 2007.The Price of the Ticket is an absolute must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars If They Take You In the Morning
I remember the first time I realized that James Baldwin was a genius. I picked up one of Angela Davis's autobiographies. I found one of the most beautifully crafted letters ever exchanged from one writer to another.

And with one five page letter, I fell in love.

I am certain that The Price of the Ticket must be one of the greatest collections of essays ever bound into a single volume. If someone would like to challenge that, please be my guest. And, I believe that James Baldwin is probably the second most widley quoted African American writer in epithets, speeches and dedications after Martin Luther King. I admit, I have no statistical data to support these claims. I have no quantitative proof. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you will understand what I mean. Whether it was the text Many Thousands Gone I read in An African History course on Slavery, or the article entitled The Price of the Ticket that I discovered in my Art History course. Baldwin has left an indelible mark on history.

James warned us that, "It is very nearly impossible, after all, to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind." (The Can't Turn Back)

He proved to us that, "freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be." (Notes for a Hypothetical Novel)

Long before Morrison & Cose explanation of the Envy of the World we knew, "alas, that to be an American Negro Male is also to be a kind of walking phallic symbol: which means that one pays, in one's own personality, for the sexual insecurity of others." (The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy)

Before Mumia reminded us Baldwin informed us, "What passes for identity in America is a serise of myths about one's heroic ancestors. It's astounding to me, for example that so many people really appear to believe that the country was founded by a band of heroes who wanted to be free." (A Talk to Teachers)

And years later we still have not grasped the fact that, "Guilt is a luxury we can no longer afford." (Words of a Native Son)

Perhaps Genovese was smiling when Baldwin wrote, "We won our Christianity, our faith, at the point of a gun, not because of the example afforded by white Christains, but in spite of it. It was very difficult to become a Christian if you were a black man on a slave ship, and the slave ship was called "The Good Ship Jesus."

Perhaps the scarriest thing that Baldwin has showed us, is how seldom things change.

Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent. Talent is not to be ignored. Dreams are to be followed, Challenges are to be faced and Art is to be created.

5-0 out of 5 stars Baldwin's Legacy
This is a collection of nonfiction from James Baldwin's illustrious career: essays, book excerpts and movie/book reviews. I have read it many times and never get tired of it. What more can I say?

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly heartfelt essays
Baldwin was a great writer, not only because he told a compelling story, but because he wanted his work to change the world he lived in and, on some levels, it did.No other example of this intention is more apprant than Baldwin's non-fiction work.His essays are timely (even now), filled with biting intelect, and brimming with his trademark ability to wind around an issue.

This book is all the more relevant because it saves you time: it collects his 3 book-length essays ("Fire Next Time", "No name In The Street" and "The Devil Finds Work"), as well as a ton of other pieces.It's almost totally comprehensive in this respect.Revealing and a more than trustworthy look at the man from his own mouth, and over the years. ... Read more


17. The Evidence of Things Not Seen
by James Baldwin
Hardcover: Pages (1995-06)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.49
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1568495757
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
This edition of a classic work by one of America’s premier writers offers a new Foreword by Derrick Bell (with Janet Dewart Bell) to the 1995 paperback edition, and is as meaningful today as it was when it was first published in 1985. In his searing and moving essay, James Baldwin explores the Atlanta child murders that took place over a period of twenty-two months in 1979 and 1980. Examining this incident with a reporter’s skill and an essayist’s insight, he notes the significance of Atlanta as the site of these brutal killings—a city that claimed to be “too busy to hate”—and the permeation of race throughout the case: the black administration in Atlanta; the murdered black children; and Wayne Williams, the black man tried for the crimes. Rummaging through the ruins of American race relations, Baldwin addresses all the hard-to-face issues that have brought us a moment in history where it is terrifying to to be a black child in white America, and where, too often, public officials fail to ask real questions about “justice for all.” Baldwin takes a time-specific event and makes it timeless: The Evidence of Things Not Seen offers an incisive look at race in America through a lens at once disturbing and profoundly revealing.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Very disappointed with this - partially my fault as I didn't realise it was an essay.
Had no idea who the author was.
basically vitriolic politics - but a necessary work for anyone research the Atlanta Youth murders.
Not wanting to appear racist but I was offended but a variety of comments.
Being white and English is obviously not a good thing in Baldwin's eyes.
But everyone is entitled to an opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Evidence of Things Not Seen

Searing, insighful essays written by a genius mind with a
writing style so filled with grace that it evokes tears.
Recognition fills every page. These essays should be
required reading in every American school. Anyone
interested in what a writer is, should be, can be, should
experience this Baldwin.

2-0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I was hoping for a factual/investigative account of the tragedy of the Atlanta child murders.Instead, this book seemed to be an essay written on the problems of racial injustice and ignorance in Atlanta, America, and the world.Nothing wrong with that, but then I take into account that the essay was written in a most meandering and disjointed fashion, full of incomprehensible references, with an overwhelming tone of arrogance.Baldwin is right, everyone else is wrong and to blame.Not persuasive, just a waste of time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can People of Color Be that Cruel...?
This is a difficult read because Baldwin's thoughts come across like a man too perplexed to ask "Why?". And so there are many crosscurrent thoughts, parentheticals that are not in parenthesis, and sheer rage. The question: who could be murdering the children in Atlanta? And has the years of systematic oppression and racism made it possible for a black man to be become that cruel? Has the oppressed become the oppressor?

And I can understand Baldwin's great perplexity...he wants to point the finger at the American way of life. How years and years of being considered not human has affected the mindset of the average person of color. And of having to come through identity crises, legal crises, social crises to be confronted with who...? A person who is this insane enough to be killing innocent kids? Why have we struggled so much, Baldwin seems to be asking, to create this monster?

And so, it is another probing we received from the always philosophical, questioning, always provocative Baldwin.

Why read the book now? Well, although this murderer has been found and given punishment based on the fullest extent of the law, the questions remains.

How have we come to this? ... Read more


18. Giovanni's Room
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 176 Pages (2000-06-13)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.24
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0385334583
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality.With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.



... Read more

Customer Reviews (88)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beauty and Tragedy in 1950s Paris
GIOVANNI'S ROOM was not James Baldwin's first novel; his debut came three years before with GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN.Nor was it the first post-war novel to deal with homosexuality; Gore Vidal addressed the issue in 1948's THE CITY AND THE PILLAR.

But Vidal, as good a writer as he is, is not a poet.And GIOVANNI'S ROOM is the work of a poet.

Baldwin's writing is uncommonly beautiful.Even when dealing with the darkest of emotions and the most devastating of tragedies, his prose soars like an eagle above the usual form of the novel, giving the events a depth and meaning that, to my mind, most forcibly recall Tennessee Williams; it is a shame that none of Baldwin's novels or plays were ever filmed.

The fairly simple story concerns David, an expatriate American in Paris, aged about twenty-seven or so and somewhat of a drifter.He is involved with a young woman named Hella, whom he has asked to marry him; at the start of the story, which is told in flashback, Hella is off traveling in Spain, considering David's proposal, which despite the appearance of importance she is giving it, has a hollow ring to it.

While Hella is gone, David, needing money, becomes involved in the homosexual world of Paris.He does not go so far as to have sex with any of the men, but he learns quickly how to use them to get the money that his father keeps refusing to send him from the States.

One night, with one of these acquaintances, a middle-aged businessman named Jacques, David goes to a bar owned by Jacques's friend Guillaume, and meets the new barman, a beautiful young Italian named Giovanni.The two young men hit it off extremely well; without revealing too much, suffice it to say that the evening ends in Giovanni's room, in his bed.

The remainder of the novel deals with David's inner turmoil over the fact that he has fallen head-over-heels in love with Giovanni, a love, though this is not said directly, much deeper than whatever it is he feels (felt?) for Hella.Later on, naturally, Hella returns to Paris, and David, afraid to face Giovanni, simply abandons him and takes up with Hella at her hotel.

The inevitable happens, and Giovanni and Hella eventually meet on the street.Giovanni is with Jacques, and they invite David and Hella out for a drink.Hella, perhaps sensing something, begs off on the grounds that she does not feel well.David takes her back to her hotel.

The following evening, David returns to Giovanni's room and attempts to explain to him why he must make his life with Hella, but at this point it is obvious that he is trying to convince himself.

The novel turns tragic after David and Giovanni separate forever.Giovanni commits a murder and is sent to the guillotine; David and Hella rent a house in the south of France, but inevitably, one night, David disappears and takes up with a sailor.Hella tracks him down and finds him, very drunk, with the sailor, in a gay bar.Embittered, she leaves for the United States almost immediately.David, who appears to be planning to stay in Paris, leaves the house and goes to the bus stop to wait for the bus to the train station.

I don't know to what extent David's self-loathing mirrored Baldwin's, or if Baldwin felt that way at all, but the really remarkable thing is that all of the people in this novel, American, French, and Italian, are white, yet Baldwin, who seems to have had an almost musical ear for dialogue, speaks in all these different voices with amazing accuracy and precision.

This is an astonishing work of art.To describe it as a novel about homosexuality is to trivialize it.It is a deeply human story about people with flaws, and how these flaws sometimes can be our undoing.

5-0 out of 5 stars An aching love story in shades of grey, punctuated by brilliant light
'Giovanni's Room' has the aching ring of truth and personal experience, and is written in sentences so beautiful and well-crafted that the novel seems more like poetry than prose. Baldwin'simagery is deep, subtle, and multi-layered -- one can honestly dig into this movel for days and weeks and come up with reams of symobolism and deeper truth even beyond the beautiful and poignant surface story. This is what makes the book a timeless classic and great masterpiece, rather than simply a well-written story of forbidden love.

One example, out of many: Upon my second reading (like many, I've read this gem a half dozen times), I noticed the shades in which the story is written. It is painted in many and various and deep shades of grey -- like a great charcoal "painting," or a black & white photograph of a rainy day. In terms of great novels, 'Giovanni's Room' for me is actually one that uses some of the darkest greys.

Yet the dark greys are punctuated by a brilliant light, and the light comes from the character Giovanni. From the first moment that the protagonist David meets Giovanni, time stops and the world is set ablaze as from the brightest of suns. It's remarkable sensing the great shafts of light that Giovanni represent, in the midst of the greying darkness around him and around David.

And since -- as the perspicacious reader will notice upon a deep examination of the book -- Giovanni represents, on a symbolic level, David's homosexuality, once can see that his true sexual orientatioon is the source of light and life in David's existence, and that to deny that is to cut off his light, his source of life and happiness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excrutiatingly Beautiful
I read Giovanni's Room for an English class at the college-level on the experience of foreignness. This has been one of my favorite classes and favorite teachers (not to keep beating on the word favorite, but maybe everything just came together really well?). We explored different ways of being foreign, first the more obvious - literally being foreign like being an immigrant, traveler, etc. Next, ways we could feel foreign, either by our personal interests or our political views.

Giovanni's room was just beautiful. It was a story of a man who felt foreign in his own skin, and traveled half way across the world to escape himself, only to trap himself, unable to escape. In Giovanni's room, he is exposed but cannot face himself, destroying himself and those around him. Baldwin is poetic. rhythmic. violent, emotional. and excruciatingly beautiful.

Revisiting the book again with the context of the author's background gives it another layer of complexity. Giovanni's room was published in 1956, during the post war era of social conformity. Baldwin, though black, writes exclusively about white characters experiencing sexual exploration. He himself left the US and went to Paris in 1948 due to American prejudice against homosexuals and blacks. In many ways, this novel has autobiographical elements.

5-0 out of 5 stars A milestone that stands the test of time
I read Giovanni's Room originally when I was in my 20's and loved it.
Now at 51, I just reread it.This time around it struck me as a tad overwrought, but still a wonderful book.It's certainly one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read.The prose just flows gracefully along like a Brahms Intermezzo.Baldwin captures the anguish of a man struggling with his sexuality and the impact that has on others beautifully.His insights into human nature are keen.Despite being written in the 50's when homosexuality was quite taboo, the book has aged remarkably well and in no way feels dated.Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Weird ending
I liked the story, although it seemed more like the outline to a great novel yet to be written. It was just too short. The only thing I didn't like was the sudden strange ending that was unrelated to the relationships between any of the main characters. ... Read more


19. Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin
by Herb Boyd
Paperback: 272 Pages (2008-12-30)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0743293088
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

Baldwin's Harlem is an intimate
portrait of the life and genius of one
of our most brilliant literary minds:
James Baldwin.

Perhaps no other writer is as synonymous with Harlem as James Baldwin (1924-1987). The events there that shaped his youth greatly influenced Baldwin's work, much of which focused on his experiences as a black man in white America. Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Fire Next Time, Notes of a Native Son, and Giovanni's Room are just a few of his classic fiction and nonfiction books that remain an essential part of the American canon.

In Baldwin's Harlem, award-winning journalist Herb Boyd combines impeccable biographical research with astute literary criticism, and reveals to readers Baldwin's association with Harlem on both metaphorical and realistic levels. For example, Boyd describes Baldwin's relationship with Harlem Renaissance poet laureate Countee Cullen, who taught Baldwin French in the ninth grade. Packed with telling anecdotes, Baldwin's Harlem illuminates the writer's diverse views and impressions of the community that would remain a consistent presence in virtually all of his writing.

Baldwin's Harlem provides an intelligent and enlightening look at one of America's most important literary enclaves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE POET THAT WE PRODUCED...................
Herb Boyd gives us a gossipy biography of Baldwin that somehow works. Boyd admits that he really didn't know Baldwin personally. Yet Boyd skillfully uses Baldwins writings and interviews with Baldwins friends and acquaintancesto weave his narrative. A large amount of personal opinion and observation is thrown in.
I think Boyd illuminates much of the criticism of Baldwin and his work by the Stanley Crouchs and Harold Cruses.Underneath all the sometime skillfully writtenand spoken rhetoric, underneath and around all of that criticism of Baldwin and his work arestrong elements of jealousy and envy of his fame and literary success. A kind of manly jealousy.
Baldwin was not allowed to speak at the March on Washington because it was well known that Baldwin would tell it the way he saw it.
Baldwin's habit of speaking the truth and being a witness certainly got him into trouble with some sections of the Jewish community. I read somewhere, I can't remember when or where, but I think it wasin some interview that Baldwin gave this response to a question:"Nothing you can say can justify the founding of the state of Israel.......". So I am not surprised by cries of "anti-antisemitism". Although there is certainly no justification for this. Boyd handles this situation well.
Like Herb Boyd, most of us of African ancestry living in this country did not know James Baldwin personally either-but most of us knew some people that "put us in the mind of" Baldwin. We know or knew somebody kind of like Baldwin-because he was-as he said- "the poet that we produced".
THUMBS UP!! Herb Boyd......

5-0 out of 5 stars James Baldwin's Harlem
James Baldwin was born in Harlem, a simple fact, but one with far from simple impact on his character, destiny, and art. Baldwin was born in 1924 in Harlem Hospital His mother was Emma Berdis Jones, part of the African American migration from the south and away from segregation laws and the threat of the Klan. Baldwin never knew who his father was, and was raised by an often abusive step-father, David Baldwin. Harlem, with all of its conflicts, ambiguities, and social levels gave birth not to just James Baldwin the man but to Baldwin the writer. Even though he left as a young adult, never to permanently return, Baldwin's formative experiences were those he would mine forever as a writer.
Herb Boyd's biography of James Baldwin, Baldwin's Harlem, makes this influence clear in all its details. Published by Atria Books, the biography chronicles Baldwin's early years on hard streets made harder by the Depression. But Harlem also had tremendous cultural vibrancy. Although the literary movement dubbed the Harlem Renaissance had waned, important figures from it such as Langston Hughes still remained. Countee Cullen, a poet from the Harlem Renaissance, was actiually Baldwin's teacher in junior high school. Theater, music, and politics still filled the air. And Baldwin observed, looking back from 1980: "The poverty of my childhood differed from the poverty of today in that the TV set was not sitting in front of our faces, forcing us to make unbearable comparisons between the room we were sitting in and the rooms we were watching, neither were we endlessly being told what to wear and drink and buy. We knew that we were poor, but then, everybody around us was poor."
If the threat of the south was the Klu Klux Klan, then police brutality presented an analagous threat in Harlem. And class distinctions also flourished. While Langston Hughes, who had moved to Harlem, praised it Baldwin felt a resentment against the black middle class, and there was often tension between West Indian immigrants and the native born. In terms of class, Baldwin observed "There were two Harlems. Those who lived in Sugar Hill (the famous black middle class neighborhood) and there was the Hollow, where we lived. There was a great divide between the black people on the hill and us. I was just a ragged, funny black shoeshine boy and I was afraid of the people on the Hill, who, for their part, didn't want to have anything to do with me."
A commitment to his family and younger siblings kept Baldwin from totally leaving Harlem, but he moved to Greenwich Village as soon as he could as a young man, propelled by a need to get away-both as a writer and as a homosexual. Indeed, Baldwin soon became a permanent ex-patriot, first leaving for Europe in 1948. And while he was frequently ambivalent about Harlem, in particular condemning its ugliness and housing projects, the true love urban of his life was Paris, which he always characterized in glowing terms.Yet he never lost touch with American political movements, supporting the fight for Civil Rights, Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers.
Baldwin of course is best known as a writer, the author of Go Tell It On The Mountain and If Beale Street Could Talk. However, the portrait of Baldwin that emerges in Boyd's biography is a highly complex one, not just that of a prominent black writer in America bent on expressing personal and political experience. Indeed, Baldwin's relationship with other black writers began, and remained, highly conflictual. He attacked pioneering-and famous-novelist Richard Wright by comparing him to Harriet Beecher Stowe, and calling them both propagandists. He feuded with Langston Hughes, and never credited Countee Cullen with much influence. In a way, Baldwin as a writer exemplified what critic Harold Bloom called "the anxiety of influence"-a desire to be seen on his own and as a self-made artist.
Herb Boyd doesn't shy away from controversy in Baldwin's Harlem. There is an entire chapter devoted to "The Jewish Question" which examines Baldwin's relationships to individual Jews, and to the anti-Semitism he was accused of. However, this chapter asks as many questions as it answers, and in general Baldwin could be seen as conflicted on the subject, as he was on others. Even his relationship with Malcolm X, who he often revered, could be described as ambivalent. However, perhaps too much of the book is spent on detailing all of Baldwin's literary feuds, some of whose interest has been dimmed by time.
Although conflict characterizes Baldwin as both man and writer, that conflict was also a source of creativity. Ralph Ellison, the revered author of Invisible Man roundly criticized Baldwin for his political involvement, saying "This is a great mistake you're making, getting involved in the civil rights movement. The artist must maintain a certain esthetic distance." But this was not James Baldwin, and his art did not suffer, and certainly nor did his conscience. Also, Baldwin knew when to be true to himself. His novel, Giovanni's Room, is about a tragic gay love affair, and has no major black characters in it. Rather than being his ruination, as predicted, the novel is considered by many to be among his finest works.
Boyd is at his best at the center of his subject, what he calls "Harlem, Real and Imagined." He writes: "To a great degree, Harlem tended to be just another character for Baldwin, he treated it with the same brush of contradiction he used on his other subjects. For the most part, though, Harlem was typecast as the lowlife harlot, consistently present in his non-fiction and only occasionally beautified in his fiction." PAGE 125 In his introduction to the book, Boyd writes: "The Baldwin I have discovered through interviews, with friends and relatives, and his essays and novels is as complex and indefinable as I expected." In the final analysis, it is not only Harlem which is a place of contradiction, it is Baldwin himself. And Harlem remains both a prison Baldwin escaped and a muse he always carried within him.

***
You can see more of Miriam Sagan's reviews on the literary blog Miriam's Well […]
... Read more


20. The Story of Siegfried
by James Baldwin
Paperback: 224 Pages (2006-01-04)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$1.58
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0486445747
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

Exciting accounts of Siegfried, the young man who rode through fire to awaken the lovely Brunhild from a deep sleep, and adventure-packed retellings of "The Curse of Gold," "Nibelungen Land," "The War with the North-Kings," and sixteen other timeless tales, transport young readers to a captivating world of dragons, giants, and gods.
... Read more

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