James Arthur Baldwin (1924 – 1987) was an American writer.
“There has been a renaissance when it comes to Baldwin’s work in the last maybe four to five years. People have really returned to his books…He was just exceptional at understanding history and understanding people and knowing that we constantly repeat our mistakes, because we are constantly denying our history and refusing to reckon with it. Baldwin knew that better than almost anyone else. He was fantastic.” Robert Jones Jr.
Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Today by Eddie Glaude is an introduction to the life and work of Baldwin. “This title is written by a man who has been reading James Baldwin—both as a professor and as a African American who wants to understand the world he’s in—for most of his adult life. He has taken not the fiction of Baldwin, but the nonfiction, starting with The Fire Next Time (published in 1963) and going on through the seventies and right up until his death in 1987.” Patrick Wright in the 2021 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.
Another recommended book about Baldwin is The Fire Is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America. ‘This is a book that you finish reading and you’re mad you’re done, it’s so so so good. It’s much more recent than the others, it was written in 2019. Nicholas Buccola is a wonderful political theorist. He does a fine job of helping us to know Buckley and Baldwin in much greater depth.” Myisha Cherry the American philosopher recommends books on anger about racial injustice.
Books by James Baldwin
Interviews where books by James Baldwin were recommended
From Jane Austen to James Baldwin, the best love stories in literature recommended by Jenny Davidson, novelist, historian and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
The novels of James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Wallace Thurman and James Early Hardy bring the America of the last two centuries vividly to life. Marlon James brings us a fantasy trilogy set in ancient Africa. Robert Jones Jr., author of The Prophets—a love story set on a plantation in the American South—talks us through his choices of the best books by Black queer writers.