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Nobody Knows My Name Paperback – December 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (December 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780679744733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679744733
  • ASIN: 0679744738
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A passionate, probing, controversial book which is outstandingly well written."--The Atlantic

From the Publisher

"A passionate, probing, controversial book which is outstandingly well written."--The Atlantic

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Customer Reviews

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Mr. Baldwin is my favorite author of all times.
RCTX
For my humanities class I was instructed to read an autobiography of my choice.
Zee Santiago
It will easily make my top 10 list - which is very, very, very difficult.
akil

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on December 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Bearing the subtitle "More Notes of a Native Son," "Nobody Knows My Name" is a follow-up to Baldwin's earlier, more famous book. Originally published in national magazines between 1954 and 1961, these essays are more mature, if less biting, than his first collection--and they are certainly just as witty. With one notable exception, they are timeless and trenchant commentaries on racial and cultural issues.

The first group of eight essays focuses on the political and social divides in the United States. The opening article reiterates the discovery he made in "Notes of a Native Son": that by living in Europe he paradoxically discovered what it means to be an American. Others examine the despicable inhumanity of a Harlem public housing project ("cheerless as a prison"), the success of the student movement and the rise of Muslim power in black politics ("a very small echo of the black discontent now abroad in the world"), and the first efforts to integrate Southern public schools ("the entire nation has spent a hundred years avoiding the question of the place of the black man in it"). The two most memorable essays detail the daily bravery, trauma, and humiliations of a schoolboy who is the first black in an all-white school and respond to Faulkner's despicable remarks on race (which were made when Faulkner was seemingly drunk and which were later repudiated when he was atypically sober).

The only disappointing essay is "Princes and Power," an account of Le Congres des Ecrivains et Artistes Noirs (Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zee Santiago on October 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
For my humanities class I was instructed to read an autobiography of my choice. Through shuffling through the library for an autobiography that I can actually read and appreciate I stumbled across this great James Baldwin title. Nobody Knows My Name is a collection of his writing while he was self exiled in Europe. I opened the book with excitment and urgency. As the words regestired in my head I began to realize that the experiences he described articulated exactly how I feel as a black man in American society.

Each essay discussing another aspect of society or the life of a black man in the world I grasped with utter enthusasim. His observations and theories were articulate critical and insightful. James Baldwin's tales of another continent are intising and informative of where our society was and how it is still the same in many ways.

If you are interested in Baldwin's previous writings or African American authors and perspective I know you will enjoy this combiation of essays.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By akil on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
what i love about baldwin is that he does not have delusions of grandeur about himself - unlike many blacks in the public sphere. this book of essays on society and his personal experiences in the US and abroad is majestic b/c baldwin has a way of writing about complexities of people and societal issues in an introspective yet practical way. although i was impressed with every essay, his essay on richard wright was mindblowing. BUT YOU HAVE TO READ IT FOR YOURSELF! i think it is a great book for black and latin men to read. in doing so many bruhs - if they are honest - will find that they are as similar baldwin as we like to believe are are to malcolm x. either way, you do not go wrong as both were great human beings. in short, i was totally edified by this text. It will easily make my top 10 list - which is very, very, very difficult.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By gac1003 on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This collection of essays show James Baldwin as he strives to figure out who he is as a writer, as an American and as a black man. Beginning with his self-imposed exile to Paris in the 1950's, he calls his own identity as both a black man and an American into question. The Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists which met in 1956 showed him just how different Europeans and Africans viewed cultural identity and hinted at ostracizing the American contingent. And he felt distinctly American in that crowd. Through his essays about returning to Harlem, his criticisms of William Faulkner ("Faulkner and Desegregation"), his review of a work by André Gide, his dealings with author Richard Wright, his friendship with author Norman Mailer ("The Black Boy Looks At the White Boy"), and his interview with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Baldwin displays his own feelings at finding his own identity as both man and writer in a world that tries to both accet and to reject him at the same time.
Powerful essays from one of America's best authors.
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Format: Paperback
James Baldwin is quoting a woman, upon the death of Richard Wright, concerning his novel, "Native Son." The same sentiment can be used to describe this collection of essays by James Baldwin. It really was a different era, archaic to us now, before Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, back when segregation, de facto or legal, was very much the rule in America. Most of the essays discuss events in the late `40's or `50's, and underscore how far we have come, now that we have elected the first American black president, but also how many other issues, particularly those related to power, remain much the same. A few years after the Second World War, Baldwin, driven by no doubt the same forces that sent Wright there, sought solace in voluntary exile in France.

Baldwin starts his first essay by quoting from the quintessential author of the white elite, Henry James, on what it means to be an American. Baldwin goes on to describe that only when he was in France, and had some perspective on the matter, did he realize that he also was an American. His second essay concerns the first black writer and artist conference, held in Paris in 1956, when almost all the participants were still literally coming from colonies. It was billed as a "second Bandung" a reference to the conference that was held in that Indonesian city in 1954 that commenced the "non-aligned movement," the Third World countries who wished to neither join the American or Soviet blocs. In other essay he has returned to America, and gives his views on the development of Harlem (and it is not positive.)

He also conducts some brilliant interviews, taking his first trip to the South, and interviewing the white principal of the school which had just commenced de-segregation with its first black pupil.
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