by James Baldwin
Published by Vintage Books • December 1, 1992
128 Pages • ISBN 978-0679744726 • Paperback
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A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. 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. 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 our literature.
The second selection from David Bowie's son's online book club honoring Bowie's love of books, Baldwin's The Fire Next Time was originally written in the 1960s, and is just as important today, if not more so as it shows just how little we've come as a society. Collecting a letter that Baldwin wrote to his nephew on the the hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation and an essay on Baldwin's thoughts about where the country was at the time in regards to civil rights, it's disheartening to think that he could just as easily be writing about the current climate in the US.