James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his essay collections Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time were bestsellers that made him an influential figure in the growing civil rights movement. Baldwin spent much of his life in France, where he moved to escape the racism and homophobia of the United States. He died in France in 1987, a year after being made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor.
"He is thought-provoking, tantalizing, irritating, abusing and amusing. And he uses words as the sea uses waves." --Langston Hughes
"If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one." --Michael Ondaatje "This author retains a place in an extremely select group; that composed of the few genuinely indispensable American writers." --Saturday Review