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The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-fiction, 1948-1985 Hardcover – November 11, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0718126407 ISBN-10: 0718126408

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd (November 11, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718126408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718126407
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,988,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA Compiled into one volume are James Baldwin's essays from the past three decades. Except for the lead article, "The Price of the Ticket," all have been published before. The selections are arranged in chronological order and include his three book-length essays, "The Fire Next Time," "No Name in the Street" and "The Devil Finds Work." Baldwin's writings on the civil rights movement, his analysis of Richard Wright's Native Son (Harper, 1940) and his thoughts on his childhood experiences are a few of the topics in this volume. Baldwin details his hopes, his joys, his bitterness and his feelings about himself, other blacks and especially white America. The earlier works seem somewhat theatrical and histrionic, his later ones toned down to a more pure and clear style. All of them are brilliant, intense and passionate. For those collections that do not have copies of these previously published works. Pat Royal, Prince George's County Public School System, Md.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Together, these essays document the changes and development of intellectual styles and values between the period when they were written for such magazines as New Leader and Partisan Review and the present . . . The Price of the Ticket collects much of the best work of one of our finest living writers."—Sam Cornish, The Christian Science Monitor

"James Baldwin's essays on race in America are enlightening, entertaining and, because of his remarkable prescience, a bit eerie . . . In these 51 pieces all of which appeared in magazines or previous collections, Mr. Baldwin covers a diverse range of subjects. But a theme runs through them all—many of our national ills stem from a retreat from self-knowledge. This country's mistreatment of blacks is the best symbol of the discordance between the American myth and reality, Mr. Baldwin contends."—Salim Muwakkil, The New York Times Book Review

"James Baldwin became a national figure and remained one until his death, two years before which his collected nonfiction, The Price of the Ticket, came out. Anyone wishing to take Baldwin's measure as a man and writer while, incidentally, getting a vivid picture of Harlem during World War II, must begin with this book."—William Corbett, author of New York Literary Lights
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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If you are buying one American non-fiction book, this should be the one.
Gary Britson
James warned us that, "It is very nearly impossible, after all, to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind."
Lhea J. Love
James Baldwin is one of the most straightforward but complex American writers I have ever encountered.
William Alexander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott Woods on April 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Baldwin was a great writer, not only because he told a compelling story, but because he wanted his work to change the world he lived in and, on some levels, it did. No other example of this intention is more apprant than Baldwin's non-fiction work. His essays are timely (even now), filled with biting intelect, and brimming with his trademark ability to wind around an issue.
This book is all the more relevant because it saves you time: it collects his 3 book-length essays ("Fire Next Time", "No name In The Street" and "The Devil Finds Work"), as well as a ton of other pieces. It's almost totally comprehensive in this respect. Revealing and a more than trustworthy look at the man from his own mouth, and over the years.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gary Britson on December 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
With the possible exception of Tom Paine and Gore Vidal, Baldwin is the finest essayist. Most of his non-fiction is here, including his groundbreaking essay "Fifth Avenue, Uptown," the best single essay I have ever read. Of special interest, as one who enjoys movie criticism, is the entire book "The Devil Finds Work," in which Baldwin happily takes apart a number of American classic films. I was never wild about Baldwin's fiction, but no one could top him as an essayist. If you are buying one American non-fiction book, this should be the one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Alexander on August 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
James Baldwin is one of the most straightforward but complex American writers I have ever encountered. Best known for his groundbreaking works like "Giovanni's Room" and "I Don't Know How Long the Train's Been Gone," these essays - fascinating ruminations on race, gender, sexuality, cinema, and sometimes just the nature of fame itself - are artfully assembled. In this book, cover to cover, you see the work of a true intellectual - someone who evolves in his thinking as the years go by, someone whose even most casual observation is fraught with meaning because of an almost tragic refusal to "see" things for what anything other than what they are. Baldwin himself was a controversial figure - African American man of letters, gay, steeped in the culture of both the Haarlem Renaissance, the ecstatic church, and post-war Paris, a civil rights lion who was still unafraid to discuss the contradictions of a movement he feared would tear itself apart. But his writing is almost like reading the work of a magician, remarkable in its "passionate dispassion" and unflinching willingness to deal with subjects from his own unique point(s) of view, subjects others would eschew or refuse to touch. He is not a "comfortable" writer. His was an intellect and achievement that does the near impossible - deals with themes most "human" and yet seemingly transcends those very limitations, limitations that would have felled a lesser artist. At his best, he even achieves an eerie prescience, and not in some generalized fashion. His prose is not compromising.

I also note that some of Mr. Baldwin's lectures and interviews are now on YouTube. And those make great companions to any reading of his works.

I recommend this book without reservation. The work of a unique American "master" performing at his absolute best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lhea J. Love on November 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I remember the first time I realized that James Baldwin was a genius. I picked up one of Angela Davis's autobiographies. I found one of the most beautifully crafted letters ever exchanged from one writer to another.

And with one five page letter, I fell in love.

I am certain that The Price of the Ticket must be one of the greatest collections of essays ever bound into a single volume. If someone would like to challenge that, please be my guest. And, I believe that James Baldwin is probably the second most widley quoted African American writer in epithets, speeches and dedications after Martin Luther King. I admit, I have no statistical data to support these claims. I have no quantitative proof. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you will understand what I mean. Whether it was the text Many Thousands Gone I read in An African History course on Slavery, or the article entitled The Price of the Ticket that I discovered in my Art History course. Baldwin has left an indelible mark on history.

James warned us that, "It is very nearly impossible, after all, to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind." (The Can't Turn Back)

He proved to us that, "freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be." (Notes for a Hypothetical Novel)

Long before Morrison & Cose explanation of the Envy of the World we knew, "alas, that to be an American Negro Male is also to be a kind of walking phallic symbol: which means that one pays, in one's own personality, for the sexual insecurity of others.
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Format: Hardcover
Let me qualify my review by first telling you that I have read EVERY SINGLE PUBLISHED WORK by James Baldwin with the exception of one and that is because it is a first edition that I can't stand to crack along the spine. James Baldwin was and still is prolific- to say the least. He has the ability to distinguish both his objective and subjective observations in a single essay. He is the proliferation of the duo consciousness in America. His observations of social and political mores is nearly unparalleled for their relevance both yesterday and today. This is an outstanding compliment to the author but sad commentary on the state of US world, racial, environmental, social and sexual politics in 2007. The Price of the Ticket is an absolute must read!
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