Begin Again

Begin Again

James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own

Book - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"James Baldwin grew disillusioned by the failure of the Civil Rights movement to force America to confront its lies about race. In the era of Trump, what can we learn from his struggle? "Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be abdicated. If one refuses abdication, one begins again." --James Baldwin We live, according to Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., in the after times, when the promise of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America were challenged by the election of Donald Trump, a racist president whose victory represents yet another failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race. We have been here before: For James Baldwin, the after times came in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, when a similar attempt to compel a national confrontation with the truth was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In these years, spanning from the publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963 to that of No Name in the Street in 1972, Baldwin was transformed into 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. In the story of Baldwin's crucible, Glaude suggests, we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this Trumpian era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography--drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews--with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude's attempt, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. 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 new America"--
Publisher: New York :, Crown,, [2020]
Copyright Date: ♭2020
ISBN: 9780525575320
Characteristics: xxix, 239 pages ;,22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 13, 2021

Partly a discussion of the evolution of Baldwin's work and thinking, and partly an application of Baldwin's understanding of the workings of American racism to the Trump era. The urgency of the author's message is even more dire in light of the massive summer 2020 BLM protests and the recent white supremacist insurrection at the Capitol. Also secondarily functions as a useful guide to the Baldwin works one might like to read in full.

mko123 Sep 29, 2020

"A thousand cuts a day..." is how James Baldwin described being a black man in this country. Baldwin's pain was so great that he chose to live abroad in order to regain his will to live. He had lost faith that white America would ever wake up to the lie of whiteness and superiority.
The author, Mr. Claude, is able to bring his own experiences, as well as Baldwin's, to life in this book so the reader can feel the fear and sense of "no hope" that these men have experienced. Fortunately for us, these men, strengthened by the faith and words of visionaries like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, were able to move beyond despair and give us a path forward at this critical time in our shared history. I found this a good companion book to White Fragility.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top