“Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Written in the breathless cadence of a Pentecostal sermon, James Baldwin’s classic hits you with an emotional power that remains undiluted decades after its original publication in 1953. Baldwin lets us spend a single Saturday with teenage outsider John Grimes, the stepson of a cruel and duplicitous pastor who runs a storefront church in 1930s Harlem. As John tries to reconcile his own identity with his most important relationships—God, family, and community—Baldwin gives us glimpses into John’s childhood trauma. His passionate critique of the church also serves as a brutal condemnation of a systematically segregated America. An intense, dramatic story that sings with a force and power all its own, Go Tell It on the Mountain brilliantly and elegantly weaves cutting social commentary into fiction.