James Baldwin : a biography


James Baldwin : a biography

David Leeming

Michael Joseph, c1994

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Bibliography: p. [405]-417 - Includes index



Authorized by Baldwin before his death in 1987, this biography is written by his former assistant (from 1964-1967), David Leeming - they met in Turkey in 1962. During those years he was particularly involved in Baldwin's civil rights activities. Leeming has been given exclusive access to the Baldwin family and documents pertaining to the writer's life, growing up in Harlem, New York City, his nine-year exile in Europe and his later years of political activity in America, which earned him a 1700-page FBI file as a suspected communist and revolutionary. James Baldwin received critical acclaim for his first novel, "Go Tell It on the Mountain" (1953), a success he was never quite able to repeat, although his book of essays, "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), is considered by many to be his best work. As a black homosexual in the 1950s, he was never fully accepted by the literary establishment of the day, nor was he truly accepted by radical blacks involved in the civil rights movement. Yet, he became a major celebrity in demand for interviews and public appearances, and was greatly mourned by the nation when he died.

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