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Great book, wonderful essays, a book I would read again and again... But I would avoid wherever possible Penguin Modern Classics. The cheapest of paper, the poorest of bindings, the flimsiest of covers. I doubt I'll get two readings out of it before it disintegrates.
This book is honest and I believe that it had a significant value for honesty. James Baldwin through "Nobody knows my name" Helps me to appreciate the Ins and outs, ups and downs (and everything in between) of being a black man in this world. I love how he helps me connect the dots somehow, that all black men across the globe are almost the same person because they have faced (for hundreds of years) the same problem; oppression from the white man.
It helps me to deal with this reality honestly and seek to find a way to; understand the white man's thinking (or the lack of it) concerning me, be proud of and embrace my blackness, and let my blackness not be an end, but a means for a hopeful society where I do not have to be proud of my blackness, but proud of the human race, because it has risen above white supremacy and superiority, and has come to realize and appreciate that all people are equal.
The late, great James Baldwin who died far too young and who, sadly,never completely fulfilled his promise. "Nobody Knows My Name" along with "Notes of a Native Son" are two of the finest collection of essays probing racism, showing how destructive it is for everybody of whatever color or background. Read these two books--neither is overly long--along with his far briefer, and perhaps angrier "The Fire Next Time," and you will have immersed yourself in as fine an essayist as black America ever produced. Read these three utterly profound explorations of what it means to be black in America, and then go read Baldwin's finest two novels" "Go Tell it on the Mountain." an early memoir-novel exploring what it means to grow up black in a dominant (and domineering) white culture and Baldwin's later, longer "Another Country," a more mature book that gains power on virtually every page. Like America, as Baldwin would say, the country lost its way on the road to a better world and Baldwin understood it better than any black writer in the mid-20th century. Baldwin's "genius" was as an essayist (not as a novelist) but his passionate life long struggle to produce literary masterpieces came closest to fruition in his biting,unequaled prophecy--'The Fire Next Time" (1963) burst on the scene right before the riots in Watts, the savage beating of Rodney King and others, and the host of police killing of young black boys and men. Read Baldwin and discover how you feel about any of these atrocities that shame America.