“If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one.”
“The best essayist in this country—a man whose power has always been in his reasoned, biting sarcasm; his insistence on removing layer by layer the hardened skin with which Americans shield themselves from their country.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“[The Fire Next Time is] 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.”
“More eloquent than W. E. B. DuBois, more penetrating than Richard Wright. . . . [No Name in the Street] contains truth that cannot be denied.”
“Characteristically beautiful…. He has not himself lost access to the sources of his being—which is what makes him read and awaited by perhaps a wider range of people than any other major American writer.”
“These essays are, at once, intimate and expansive, vulnerable and relentless in their demands of the reader. They challenge and upset. Something close to the heart is happening on the page.”
—from the introduction by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.