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Download Notes of a Native Son Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Notes of a Native Son, by James Baldwin Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Baldwin Narrator: Ron Butle Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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At last, a new audio edition of the book many have called James Baldwin’s most influential work!

Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowly gained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists and foremost intellectuals of that era. Writing as an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With a keen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, from his home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.”

Notes of a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of the leading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the United States in the twentieth century, and many of his observations have proven almost prophetic. His criticism on topics such as the paternalism of white progressives or on his own friend Richard Wright’s work is pointed and unabashed. He was also one of the few writing on race at the time who addressed the issue with a powerful mixture of outrage at the gross physical and political violence against black citizens and measured understanding of their oppressors, which helped awaken a white audience to the injustices under their noses. Naturally, this combination of brazen criticism and unconventional empathy for white readers won Baldwin as much condemnation as praise.

Notes is the book that established Baldwin’s voice as a social critic, and it remains one of his most admired works. The essays collected here create a cohesive sketch of black America and reveal an intimate portrait of Baldwin’s own search for identity as an artist, as a black man, and as an American.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “He named for me the things you feel but couldn’t utter…articulated for the first time to white America what it meant to be American and a black American at the same time.”

    Henry Louis Gates Jr., author, essayist, and literary critic

  • “A straight-from-the-shoulder writer, writing about the troubled problems of this troubled earth with an illuminating intensity.”

    Langston Hughes, poet, social activist, and novelist

  • “I owe a tremendous debt to the example of his work.”

    John Edgar Wideman, National Book Award nominee

  • “Baldwin’s vision, his humor, his tragically beautiful style, make this a book [to]…turn to for a long time.”

    American Scholar

  • “The collected ‘pieces’ of the author of Go Tell It on the Mountain form a compelling unit as he applies the high drama of poetry and sociology to a penetrating analysis of the Negro experience on the American and European scene…The expression of so many insights enriches rather than clarifies, and behind every page stalks a man, an everyman, seeking his identity…and ours. Exceptional writing.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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