James Baldwin: Living in Fire (HC) (2019)

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"A scrupulous biography."―Publishers Weekly

"A fresh, incisive, and uplifting biography."―Kirkus

Bill Mullen celebrates the personal and political life of the great American writer who refused to shy away from controversary and hate and created some of the most important literary work of his time, including the novels Go Tell it to the Mountain, If Beale Street Could talk, Another Country, and Just Above My Head. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to truly understand this towering literary and political figure and everyone who understand that imperialism and racism are as dangerous today as in Baldwin's time.

As a lifelong radical, anti-imperialist, black queer advocate, feminist and pro-Palestinian, the life and writing of James Baldwin (1924-1987) has been an inspiration to generations and his words continue to resonate through our culture at large. Mullen explores how Baldwin's life and work channel the long history of the African American. Fighting towards what he hoped would be a post-racial society, Baldwin's philosophy was tragically ahead of its time. Table of Contents:

Preface: James Baldwin--A Revolutionary for Our Time
1.Baptism by Fire: Childhood and Youth, 1924-42
2.Dissidence, Disillusionment, Resistance: 1942-48
3.Political Exile and Survival: 1948-57
4.Paying His Dues: 1957-63
5.Baldwin and Black Power: 19963-68
6.Morbid Symptoms and Optimism of the Will: 1968-79
7.Final Acts
Postscript: Baldwin's Queer Legacies

Mullen writes in his Preface, "Baldwin developed a capacious, revolutionary theory and proactive of lived resistance to capitalism, imperialism, and oppression fueled by a lifetime of study, engagement, and creative tension with the most dissident pollical political movements in the US and around the world. In 1961, at the age of 37, Baldwin name this dissidence 'revolution'...'

As racist and reactionary forces rise across the world, this is an essential guide to the life and legacy of one of America's most important radical voices.


Bill V. Mullen
ISBN 10:
Pluto Press (UK)
Publication Date:
September 20, 2019

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