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The Fire Next Time
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on May 2, 2016
Growing up as the daughter of white parents in the Deep South, while my parents did everything in their power to try and keep us from using racial slurs, there was so much racism imbedded in the area that it was nearly impossible to fight it. It ranged from the blatant to the subtle, and it stuck in ways that I will probably be discovering for the rest of my life. Baldwin touches upon the use of religion to control, and the belief that the white man is the marker to which the black man should aspire, and that is still very clear in the world... As black men and women are told that their natural hair should be tamed to make them more appropriate for the work place, that the vernacular of their homes and families is somehow uneducated, even as they are surrounded by people who code-switch from a redneck southern dialect or a tough talking New York slang at home, to proper grammar in the workplace. At the end of the day, no one should aspire to whiteness. Instead, all should aspire to be the best they can be of exactly who they are.

This book, brilliantly written, greatly rocked my way of thinking. James Baldwin's grasp of humanity is one of the most realistic I've ever seen. He sees it and tells it just as it is.
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on September 20, 2016
This is a book to read with a pen! My copy, brand new, and fresh from the mailbox now has underlining everywhere and notes filling the margins. The language is beautiful in this book and there is a lot of wisdom to gather. This is my first James Baldwin and I crave more!

The book consists of two letters, a short one written to a nephew and a longer one written to discuss his thoughts and feelings about race, religion, and life. This is the most beautiful description in the entire book. I cannot possibly think of a more exquisite way to word how James sees his brother and how we often see those we have watched grow up.

"Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father’s face for behind your father’s face as it is today are all those other faces which were his. Let him laugh and I see a cellar your father does not remember and a house he does not remember and I hear in his present laughter his laughter as a child."

Baldwin starts his letter by informing his nephew on how black people can be destroyed if they believe what some white people think about them. He discusses a hidden message telling black people to settle for mediocrity rather than striving for excellence. Baldwin believes that black people need to know their history and where they came from so that there will be “no limit to where you can go.”

"…We, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it."
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on September 18, 2017
I am a huge fan of James Baldwin, this is the third book that I have bought from him. This is by far one of the best books written by him. I am so happy that I chose to buy this book, I do not regret a thing. It truly is astonishing how not much has changed between the races in America since 1963. James Baldwin is such an amazing writer, this book is extremely well written. The use of words in this book are utilized in a way that make you feel as though you are within Baldwin's story. Overall, buy this book if you are interested in learning in the about the history and culture of black individuals during 60s. Also, buy this book if you are interested in reading a quality book with quality writing.
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on January 26, 2017
This book has as much relevance today as it did when it was written. Baldwin offers balanced, yet vague, insight on how to approach race relations and change hearts on both sides of the coin. I was very moved by the language he chose to evoke the sentiment behind race in America, though it was sometimes hard to follow his lengthy phrasing. This book is as foundational as Souls of Black Folks in the curriculum for understanding race in America. I definitely recommend.
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on May 3, 2016
First read when I was much younger, it remains a strong testament. To re-read Baldwin in the same few months of reading Ta-Nehisi Coates', Between the World and Me, my conscious white body is questioned in ways that are required in order for my challenges to be recognized and acted upon.
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on March 1, 2017
Baldwin's facility with language is enough to make this book worth reading - it's like watching a tremendous intellectual athlete at work without a net. But even better is the perspective he brings to the challenging issue of race, and the way it makes one think about and reimagine the topic.
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on May 18, 2017
This book should be read by all Americans. And, it is extremely well written. I was not aware that James Baldwin was such a master of the English language. I really enjoyed reading this book, not just for the message, but just as much for the sheer pleasure of reading such well written English.
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on July 17, 2017
James Baldwin...what else is there to say? What an increible orator and his writing style mimics that style...it's like you hear him standing next to you talking. I love it!
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on October 31, 2015
This is a classic. I revisit it every so often and have for years. I wanted it on my readers. I believe that if you have not read this you ought to and if you have read it in the past, you would profit from revisiting it in these troubled days.
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on August 4, 2017
Simply breathtaking, in its moral clarity and its fiercely eloquent prose. This book is as relevant in 2017 as when it was first published. Baldwin will forever remain, in the eyes of all who seek justice in the world, a secular prophet of astonishing vision. "The Fire Next Time," in particular, is required reading for anyone even mildly interested in the state of race relations in early 21sr century US.
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