Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin : with a New Afterword

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University of California Press, 1991 - Biography & Autobiography - 326 pages
4 Reviews
James Baldwin was one of America's finest and most influential writers. By the time he died in 1987, his books, such as The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and Giovanni's Room, had become modern classics.

James Campbell knew Baldwin for ten years before Baldwin's death. For this book, he interviewed many of Baldwin's friends and examined several hundred pages of correspondence. He quotes from the vast and disturbing file that the FBI compiled on Baldwin and he discusses Baldwin's sometimes turbulent relationships with Norman Mailer, Richard Wright, and Marlon Brando, as well as his friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. Elegantly written, candid, and original, Talking at the Gates is a comprehensive account of the life and work of a writer who believed that "the unexamined life is not worth living."

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Review: Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

User Review  - Marie Rickard - Goodreads

An exploration of James Baldwin as a brilliant, flawed observer of himself and his times. I recommend this for anyone who admires his work, or has yet to discover him. Read full review

Review: Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

User Review  - Benjamin - Goodreads

Despite years of FBI surveillance, there's surprisingly little scandal in Baldwin's life. Most interesting is his proximity to other historical figures & his lifelong belief he hadn't produced enough. Read full review


Lord I aint No Stranger Now
A Severe Cross
Tear This Building Down
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About the author (1991)

James Campbell is the author of This Is the Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris (California, 2001), Exiled in Paris: Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett and Others on the Left Bank (1995), and Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland (1990). He works for the Times Literary Supplement.

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