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The Fire Next Time

by James Baldwin Contributor and Steve Schapiro Photographer

Format:Hardcover in slipcase
Page Extent:272 pages
Book Size:240 x 340 mm (Height x Width x Depth)

Quick Overview

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First published in 1963, James Baldwin's A Fire Next Time stabbed at the heart of America's so-called “Negro problem”. As remarkable for its masterful prose as it is for its uncompromising account of black experience in the United States, it is considered to this day one of the most articulate and influential expressions of 1960s race relations. The book consists of two essays, “My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation,” and “Down At The Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind.” It weaves thematic threads of love, faith, and family into a candid assault on the hypocrisy of the so-say “land of the free”, insisting on the inequality implicit to American society. “You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced”, Baldwin writes to his nephew, “because you were black and for no other reason.” His profound sense of injustice is matched by a robust belief in “monumental dignity”, in patience, empathy, and the possibility of transforming America into “what America must become.”

About the Authors

Steve Schapiro

Steve Schapiro is a distinguished photographer whose pictures have graced the covers of Vanity Fair, Time, Sports Illustrated, Life, Look, Paris Match, and People, and are found in many museum collections. He has published several books of his work, including American Edge, Schapiro's Heroes, The Godfather Family Album, Taxi Driver, Then and Now, Bowie, and, most recently, Misericordia. Many of his iconic images have been used for the posters and ad campaigns of such classic films as Midnight Cowboy, Taxi Driver, The Way We Were, and Godfather Part III.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, and one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the postwar era. His nonfiction collections—most notably Notes of a Native Son (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963), and novels, including Giovanni's Room (1956) and Another Country (1962), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in mid-twentieth-century America. A Harlem, New York, native, he primarily made his home in the south of France.

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