An official Oprah Winfrey’s “The Books That Help Me Through” selection
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation, gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today.
"Basically the finest essay I’ve ever read. . . . Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He was both direct and beautiful all at once. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you.” --Ta-Nehisi Coates
At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Originally published in 1963, James Baldwin’s arresting look at the state of racism in America is so searingly on point, it could have been written yesterday. One of the most respected voices in 20th-century American literature, Baldwin offers his view through two groundbreaking essays. One is a moving autobiographical account of his childhood in Harlem. The other explores the inequalities he encountered as a Black man in 1960s America. Baldwin’s striking prose feels like a powerful sermon, and each thought resonates deep in our bones. With bold honesty and an eloquent sense of righteous frustration, he justifies every ounce of his anger through clear descriptions of injustices that still sound all too familiar today. While his ultimate message is one of love and unity, The Fire Next Time seethes with a sense of righteous, cleansing fury.