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The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader Paperback – November 22, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his eulogy of James Baldwin--one of this anthology's previously unpublished works--Baraka writes that Baldwin was "turned all the way up, receiving and broadcasting . . . ." The same can be said of Baraka. For more than 30 years he has been one of our most self-revising, self-assertive writers. Culling representative samples of his oeuvre, this expertly edited volume reflects Baraka's bold ventures and about-faces. The poems of 1964's The Dead Lecturer tick like small explosives. Selections from 1963's Blues People and 1968's Black Music reveal Baraka as a superb, learned critic. With remarkable candor, an excerpt from Baraka's 1984 autobiography scrutinizes his Black Arts period. Notable among the new pieces is "Why's / wise," a long poem that unfolds the story of how African-Americans' appropriation of English led to the rich oral languages of blues and jazz, from which so much of Baraka's own work proceeds. The story of Baraka's metamorphoses is itself part of the story of contemporary literature's development. Anyone seeking to understand either will find this volume indispensable. Harris wrote The Poetry and Poetics of Amiri Baraka.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Baraka is a writer who readily embraces change, and this collection reflects a life full of changes beginning with something as fundamental as a change in name. The selections included are arranged chronologically in four distinct periods: The Beat Period (1957-62), The Transitional Period (1963-65), The Black Nationalist Period (1965-74), and The Third World Marxist Period (1974-present). Editor Harris, in collaboration with Baraka, has chosen representative examples of Baraka's poems, plays, jazz writings, and social criticism. Among several new works are a eulogy for James Baldwin and an emotional analysis of Jesse Jackson's role in Democratic politics. Essential for all literature collections.
- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 2nd edition (November 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560252383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560252382
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Taylor on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Buy this book. It's that simple. This book provides the reader with a developmental history of one of the greatest LIVING revolutionary minds this country has ever produced. He hits you in the heart without bashing you over the head. You may not agree with everything he says, or how he may have lived portions of his life, but you will be affected (in some capacity) by his wit, intelligence and the fierceness of his conventions. A must for anyone who thinks that they are " a radical" or "an activist."
This book is rated UR and may not be suitable for un-realistic audiences.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laura Lea May on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I thought that this followed in Amiri baraka footsetps, as a more provacative and honest edition than the others. Very powerful and eye-opening!
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Erren Geraud Kelly on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
this man is the reason why i became a writer. to know leroi jones is to see the struggle etched into his face; to know him is to hear his voice, sometimes reeling with jazz and blues, others, like a hanna-barbera cartoon. he is the struggle continuing, showing you the america, mtv, cnn,and bet refuses to show. he was a beatnik, then a black nationalist and now a maoist, but always a poet. i have met him twice, and was amazed by his brillance each meeting. his words are about freedom. any of his books will tell you that. read all of them.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Todd Steven Burroughs on February 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a native of Newark, N.J., I grew up taking Amiri Baraka for granted. It wasn't until I moved to Maryland and finally read this book that I understood who I had met all those times.

This is an EXTRAORDINARY work that details the growth and development of a significant American artist. Its editor takes much care in selecting samples that allow us to see divergent aspects of Baraka.

Especially significant among the many gems within is the text of his eulogy for James Baldwin and his essay on Jesse Jackson. Those works are required reading for those needing to understand the 20th century African-American experience, particularly those who wish to do so as writers.

This book has guided my view of the (African-)American writer's role.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Leberfinger on June 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amiri Baraka was an activist, writer, artist, controversialist and prophet.

These complexities are highlighted in the LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader. It clearly shows the various phases of his thought and writing.

It can be difficult reading but to learn about the founder of the Black Arts Movement in America, this is the place to start.
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By L. Richardson on May 26, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a gift fr a person who is a big fan of Leroi Jones/ Amiri Baraka. They enjoyed the book very much.
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