The Fire Next Time
While reading this, I kept having to check and recheck myself to make sure this really was published in the 1960s. It's tragically timely. I was utterly stopped in my tracks to read this line: "It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck...” This book is slim, but don't let its length fool you. Its heft comes when you find yourself still thinking of it days and months later. Why this would be great for book clubs: If your book club isn't one to shy away from hard discussions, there's plenty to talk about here. First published in 1963, there is so much to break down about concerning what progress has been made when it comes to civil rights, and sadly, how much is still the same.
An official Oprah Winfrey’s “The Books That Help Me Through” selection
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation, gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today.
“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.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates
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 from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. 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 literature.