James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, and one of America's foremost writers. His writing explores palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-twentieth-century America. A Harlem, New York, native, he primarily made his home in the south of France. He is the author of several novels and books of nonfiction, including Notes of a Native Son, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, Another Country, Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, Just Above My Head, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Evidence of Things Not Seen, and of the poetry collection Jimmy's Blues.
"The wonderful thing about writers like Baldwin is the way we
read them and come across passages that are so arresting we become
breathless and have to raise our eyes from the page to keep from
being spirited away."
--Edward P. Jones, from his new introduction
"Written with bitter clarity and uncommon grace."
"A straight-from-the-shoulder writer, writing about the troubled
problems of this troubled earth with an illuminating
--Langston Hughes, The New York Times Book Review
"He named for me the things you feel but couldn't utter . . .
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.
"I owe a tremendous debt to the example of his work."
--John Edgar Wideman
"Baldwin's vision, his humor, his tragically beautiful style,
make this a book [to] . . . turn to for a long time."
--Kay Boyle, The American Scholar