Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today (Hardback)
  • Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today (Hardback)

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today (Hardback)

Hardback 272 Pages
Published: 14/01/2021

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Waterstones Says

Perceptively tracing the battles with systemic racism in contemporary America through a detailed analysis of the activism of James Baldwin in the Civil Rights era, Begin Again draws instructive parallels and plots a potential course for real and sustained change.   

A searing indictment of racial injustice in America - inspired by the life and work of James Baldwin - to help us understand the present moment, and imagine a new future into being

*Winner of the Stowe Prize 2021*
**Shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2021**

The struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the presidency of Donald Trump, a president whose time in the White House represents the latest failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race.

For James Baldwin, a similar attempt to force a confrontation with the truth of America's racism came in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, and was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the years from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin - the great creative artist, often referred to as 'the poet of the revolution' - became a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair.

America is at a crossroads. Drawing insight and inspiration from Baldwin's writings, Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance through our own era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Seamlessly combining biography with history, memoir and trenchant analysis of our moment, Begin Again bears witness to the difficult truth of race in America. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a more just future.

'A simply wonderful book' PHILIPPE SANDS

'Begin Again is that rare thing: an instant classic' PANKAJ MISHRA

'Incredibly moving and stirring' DIANA EVANS

A TIME 100 Must-Read Book of 2020
A Washington Post Notable Work of Non-Fiction 2020

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784744335
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 392 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 27 mm


I loved Eddie Glaude's Begin Again. James Baldwin is a man for our moment: in a time of Black Lives Matter we've come to think about our past, our colonial history, enslavement, matters of race and identity. The beauty of this book is not just that it's deeply personal, but that it's also extraordinarily scholarly . . . You're left with an understanding of the extraordinary modernity, relevance and the immense power of James Baldwin. It's a simply wonderful book - Philippe Sands

Begin Again is an essayistic marvel, circling and folding back on itself as Baldwin's musings in the past and Glaude's analysis of the present give meaning to each other . . . a scholarly, deeply personal, and yet immensely readable meditation, a masterful reckoning with the "latest betrayal" of the American ideal - Sara Collins, Guardian

Timely, powerful . . . Glaude invites us with him to "read Baldwin to the end" and reveals a writer, not spent, but rather illuminating the path beyond despair - the work of a saint if ever there was such a thing - Ashish Ghadiali, Observer

A call to confront the truth and legacies of the traumatic birth of America . . . urgent . . . original - Sujit Sivasundaram, History Today, Books of the Year

Begin Again is that rare thing: an instant classic - Pankaj Mishra, author of The Age of Anger

An unparalleled masterpiece of social criticism. Glaude thinks alongside America's finest essayist, matching the master's firepower, brilliance, courage, and sensitivity at every turn . . . breathtaking - Imani Perry, author of Breathe and Looking for Lorraine

Incredibly moving and stirring. Begin Again. . . underlines just how relevant and crucial Baldwin's work has always been and always will be - Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People

A powerful indictment of racial injustice in the US written in conversation with the writings of James Baldwin . . . whose wisdom should be part of our conversations today - New Statesman

Begin Again speaks to a global Black Lives Matter movement . . . A riveting read - Raymond Antrobus, author of The Perseverance

The magic of Begin Again is that it allows us to ponder Baldwin both in his perilous era and in our own. Remarkable, and remarkably relevant - Tracy K. Smith, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars

Begin Again is a groundbreaking and informative guide to Baldwin and his era - Washington Post

An urgent, deeply interesting book - Rachel Cooke, Observer, Books to Look Out For 2021*

Eddie Glaude has plunged to the profound depths and sublime heights of Baldwin's prophetic challenge to our present-day crisis. This book is, undoubtedly, the best treatment we have of Baldwin's genius and relevance . . . [a] masterpiece - Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters and Race Matters

A magnificent book filled with the type of passion, lyricism, and fire that James Baldwin commands and deserves. Eddie Glaude Jr. takes us on a unique and illuminating journey through Baldwin's life and writings by both physically and philosophically following in his footsteps. In this phenomenal work, we are treated to a timeless and spellbinding conversation between two brilliant writers, thinkers, and active witnesses, addressing issues - past, present, and future - that are necessary, urgent, and vital for our survival - Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I’m Dying and Everything Inside

Powerful . . . Baldwin did not expect or want history to be rewritten but, rather, honestly confronted - Andrew Rosenheim, Tablet

In this powerful and elegant book on James Baldwin, Eddie Glaude weaves together a biography, a meditation, a literary analysis, and a moral essay on America. Like Baldwin's own essays and books, it is at times both loving and angry, challenging and uplifting, and always beautiful. Both Baldwin and this book speak directly to today - Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci

A powerful study of how to bear witness in a moment when America is being called to do the same - TIME 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

Glaude's book is neither straight biography nor straight history, but rather historiography, reaching back and forth in time to show what Baldwin - whose centenary will be celebrated in 2024 - has to say to us and to teach us through his many writings at a time when "the idea of America is in deep trouble" - Liz Thomson, Arts Desk

A powerful, genre-defying work - David Terrien, ArtReview

Fascinating . . . An urgent and honest overview of Baldwin's work - Chartist

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