At last, a new audio edition of the book many havecalled James Baldwin’s most influential work!
Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, whenBaldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and blackthought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowlygained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists andforemost intellectuals of that era. Writing as an artist, activist, and socialcritic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With akeen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel tothe motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, fromhis home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.”
Notesof a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of theleading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the UnitedStates in the twentieth century, and many of his observations have provenalmost prophetic. His criticism on topics such as the paternalism of whiteprogressives or on his own friend Richard Wright’s work is pointed andunabashed. He was also one of the few writing on race at the time who addressedthe issue with a powerful mixture of outrage at the gross physical andpolitical violence against black citizens and measured understanding of theiroppressors, which helped awaken a white audience to the injustices under theirnoses. Naturally, this combination of brazen criticism and unconventionalempathy for white readers won Baldwin as much condemnation as praise.
Notesis the book that established Baldwin’s voice as a social critic, and it remainsone of his most admired works. The essays collected here create a cohesivesketch of black America and reveal an intimate portrait of Baldwin’s own searchfor identity as an artist, as a black man, and as an American.
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