Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A searing indictment of racial injustice in America – inspired by the life and work of James Baldwin – to help us understand the present moment, and imagine a new future into being
‘Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be abdicated. If one refuses abdication, one begins again.’ JAMES BALDWIN
The struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the presidency of Donald Trump, a president whose time in the White House represents the latest failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race.
For James Baldwin, a similar attempt to force a confrontation with the truth of America’s racism came in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, and was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the years from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin – the great creative artist, often referred to as ‘the poet of the revolution’ – became a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair.
America is at a crossroads. Drawing insight and inspiration from Baldwin’s writings, Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance through our own era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Seamlessly combining biography with history, memoir and trenchant analysis of our moment, Begin Again bears witness to the difficult truth of race in America. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a more just future.
‘Begin Again is that rare thing: an instant classic’ Pankaj Mishra
‘Incredibly moving and stirring’ Diana Evans
Winner of the Stowe Prize 2021
A TIME 100 Must-Read Book of 2020
A Washington Post Notable Work of Non-Fiction 2020
A powerful study of how to bear witness in a moment when America is being called to do the same * TIME 100 Must-Read Books of 2020 * In this powerful and elegant book on James Baldwin, Eddie Glaude weaves together a biography, a meditation, a literary analysis, and a moral essay on America. Like Baldwin's own essays and books, it is at times both loving and angry, challenging and uplifting, and always beautiful. Both Baldwin and this book speak directly to today -- Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci A magnificent book filled with the type of passion, lyricism, and fire that James Baldwin commands and deserves. Eddie Glaude Jr. takes us on a unique and illuminating journey through Baldwin's life and writings by both physically and philosophically following in his footsteps. In this phenomenal work, we are treated to a timeless and spellbinding conversation between two brilliant writers, thinkers, and active witnesses, addressing issues - past, present, and future - that are necessary, urgent, and vital for our survival -- Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I'm Dying and Everything Inside How often, amid the ongoing violence and division of our current chapter of American history, have I been made to recall not only the piercing brilliance of James Baldwin, but also his discomfiting prescience? "An old world is dying," he wrote in No Name in the Street, "and a new one, kicking in the belly of its mother, time, announces that it is ready to be born." The magic of Begin Again is that it allows us to ponder Baldwin both in his perilous era and in our own. Remarkable, and remarkably relevant -- Tracy K. Smith, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars Eddie Glaude has plunged to the profound depths and sublime heights of Baldwin's prophetic challenge to our present-day crisis. This book is, undoubtedly, the best treatment we have of Baldwin's genius and relevance . . . [a] masterpiece -- Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters and Race Matters Begin Again is a groundbreaking and informative guide to Baldwin and his era * Washington Post * Begin Again speaks to a global Black Lives Matter movement . . . A riveting read -- Raymond Antrobus, author of The Perseverance James Baldwin's stature as an artist and thinker grows and grows while the reputations of most of his much-ballyhooed contemporaries shrink. There is no more eloquent guide to his bracing ideas about our past and future than Eddie Glaude, and Begin Again is that rare thing: an instant classic -- Pankaj Mishra, author of The Age of Anger Incredibly moving and stirring. Begin Again contextualises this moment of heartbreak at racism's clutch at the throat of the world . . . It underlines just how relevant and crucial Baldwin's work has always been and always will be -- Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People
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