The Fire Next Time (Vintage International) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

The only problem with this book is that it should be more irrelevant. Unfortunately, Baldwin's insights still stun, his compassion still provides needed consolation, and his eloquent demand for change, now -- for "in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand" -- is still timely. Read it, and then make it unnecessary.

— Matt


A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.

About the Author

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.

Praise For…

"Basically the finest essay I’ve ever read. . . . Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He was both direct and beautiful all at once. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you." --Ta-Nehisi Coates

"So eloquent in its passion and so scorching in its candor that it is bound to unsettle any reader." --The Atlantic
Product Details
ISBN: 9780679744726
ISBN-10: 067974472X
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: December 1st, 1992
Pages: 128
Language: English
Series: Vintage International