From Publishers Weekly
Although James Baldwin (1924–1987) left his native Harlem as a young man and returned only for occasional visits, the New York neighborhood was a recurring theme in his essays and novels, and critics often claimed that the noted African-American writer exploited its squalor. His junior high French teacher was luminary Countee Cullen, who may have inspired Baldwin's later Paris sojourn and his first literary efforts, and Baldwin shared a stormy relationship with another Harlem Renaissance progenitor, poet Langston Hughes, who called Another Country
juvenile. Baldwin shared a distrust of white liberals with Malcolm X and lent his powerful voice to Harlem's '60s causes, including a rent-strike rally and defense of the Harlem Six put on trial for the brutal murder of a Jewish shopkeeper. Longtime Harlem resident Boyd, managing editor of Black World Today
, is authoritative, but in his self-proclaimed role as Baldwin's defender, he gives short shrift to the writer's homosexuality and comes across as rationalizing the anti-Semitism Baldwin was repeatedly accused of in his lifetime. The literary critiques of Baldwin's writings and other details render this volume primarily of interest to scholars of African-American studies (Jan.)
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"Fascinating and authoritative."
"Herb Boyd's study of Baldwin and Harlem features vivid literary portraits of a powerful writer in sometimes controversial dialogue with other major figures of his era. It also centers Baldwin's Harlem in a memorable, necessary way. Boyd's book is fascinating and authoritative on a subject that he knows well and writes about with insight and sympathy."
-- Arnold Rampersad, author of Ralph Ellison: A Biography
"Herb Boyd has written an original and extremely valuable book that captures the genius and complexity of James Baldwin, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century."
-- Sondra Kathryn Wilson, author of Meet Me at the Theresa
"Herb Boyd takes Baldwin away from the ivory towers of literary scholars and elites, and centers him with, and within, the experience of his people. Required reading."
-- Todd Steven Burroughs, Ph.D., journalist
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.