Notes of a Native Son

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Beacon Press, 1984 - Social Science - 175 pages
8 Reviews
Originally published in 1955, James Baldwin's first nonfiction book has become a classic. These searing essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and Americans abroad remain as powerful today as when they were written.

"He named for me the things you feel but couldn't utter. . . . Jimmy's essays 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.


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User Review  - MrsLee -

Where to begin? I do not feel qualified to review this book. Why did I give it four stars? The writing was excellent. Baldwin says what most people cannot articulate. As a white, middle aged, middle ... Read full review

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User Review  - Jessiqa - LibraryThing

First published in 1955 and reprinted with a new introduction in 1984, Notes of a Native Son is James Baldwin’s first collection of essays. While one might suppose that the title essay is the one that ... Read full review

Selected pages


Preface to the 1984 Edition
Autobiographical Notes
Everybodys Protest Novel
Many Thousands Gone
The Dark Is Light Enough
The Harlem Ghetto
Journey to Atlanta
Notes of a Native Son
Black Meets Brown
A Question of Identity
Equal in Paris
Stranger in the Village

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About the author (1984)

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, and one of America's foremost writers. His essays, such as "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), explore 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.

His novels include Giovanni's Room (1956), about a white American expatriate who must come to terms with his homosexuality, and Another Country (1962), about racial and gay sexual tensions among New York intellectuals. His inclusion of gay themes resulted in much savage criticism from the black community. Going to Meet the Man (1965) and Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968) provided powerful descriptions of American racism. As an openly gay man, he became increasingly outspoken in condemning discrimination against lesbian and gay people.

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