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No Name in the Street
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No Name in the Street

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  427 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This stunningly personal document and extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works.In vivid detail he remembers the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness, the later events that scored his heart with pain—the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1972)
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Ryan
Oct 13, 2011 Ryan added it
Written between 1967 and 1971, No Name in the Street is Baldwin's furious and despairing book written primarily after the death of Dr. King, and about his long visits to the American south, and to France. He opines on everything from the "hell" that is Birmingham, to Camus, Faulkner, France's occupation of Algeria, the Black Panthers, white spirituality, Israel, and on and on. Though pretty short, and consisting basically of 2 long essays, it's a somewhat unfocused book, comprised mostly of ante ...more
El
James Baldwin was never exactly shy about his feelings regarding race in America, and his non-fiction book, No Name in the Street is no exception. He was angry upon writing this. Starting with his own childhood and his non-existent relationship with his father he moves on to discuss the Algerian War, with a short hop to the Civil Rights Movement in America (he was primarily in Paris by this point). He talks about his relationship with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. and shows his appreciat ...more
Brandon
While being literally shorter than other collections, Baldwin hear demands much more of the reader. A lesser thinker would have fallen into a mess of assuming the reader can follow his thoughts; but Baldwin's slides and pivots are never confusing. This is, oddly enough, a very UN-American kind of essay; it is ruminations, exhortations, and devotion, but not some simplistic political how-to or sociological analysis of the black experience in America.

It is a profoundly personal doublet of essays
...more
Craig Werner
Probably the most difficult of Baldwin's books, a mixture of eloquence, rage, and insights that are tangled up in the immense confusions of the late 60s and early 70s. For the previous decade, Baldwin had been immersed in public life: as a participant in and witness to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements; as media presence; as advocate for a friend accused of a murder he almost certainly didn't commit; as screenwriter for a move based on the life of Malcolm X which was never made. He was ...more
Eli
An incredibly powerful book. Though a bit meandering at times, Baldwin's take on the murders of MLK Jr, Malcolm X and Bobby Hutton, the march on Washington, and his friend's being framed for murder and incarcerated indefinitely in Germany sweep from explorations into the nature of American nationalism to intensely personal meditations on the contradictions he faces as a famous and successful Black man in amerikkka. After living through the hope and struggle of the 60's to see little shift and mu ...more
Rianna Jade
Baldwin's command of the English language is something everybody should experience if only once and his sardonic sarcasm is not to be missed. He is fair but firm in his critique of White America, the South and McCarthyism. I've never quoted a book so much since bell hooks' Communion. I especially enjoyed the anecdotes about Malcolm's gentleness, Martin's sadness, Huey's respectfulness, Medgar Evers smile. He even addressed Eldridge Cleaver's homophobic attack on him in Soul on Ice. His time in L ...more
Kristen
I am awed with the permanence of his words even still, today, if not more so.. "It is only very lately that white students, in the main, have had any reason to question the structure into which they were born it is the very lateness of the hour, and their bewildered resentment - their sense of having been betrayed - which is responsible for their romantic excesses; and a young, white revolutionary remains, in general, far more romantic than a black one. For it's a very different matter, and resu ...more
Daniel
What struck me about Baldwin's writing is the way he loads sentences into so much depth. He has a way of packing so much into the page while still allowing more than enough room for the reader's own thoughts.

Hearing his descriptions of people like Martin, Malcolm and Huey, especially Huey, gave me a deeper insight into these men and confirmed, for the most part, the characters which I have already formed in my head.

While he sometimes comes across cynical, at no point is he unreasonable. He expla
...more
Paddythemic
an absolute baldwin must read. includes brief anecdotes regarding malcolm x, martin luther king and huey newton. also, an interesting take on albert camus.

brilliant.
Ryn McAtee
This should be required reading for all Americans, particularly all white Americans. The fact that this book was published in 1972 and is still so horribly accurate over thirty years later is a tragedy.
Trice
i really appreciated and connected with baldwin's point of view about the country's issues, and see how things got to be the way they are. i wish he were around now, and wonder what he would say :(
the only problem i encountered when reading this book, was my limited vocab and attention span (both defects i hadn't seen in myself until now!). most of the sentences were so long that by the time i got to the end of it, i forgot what it was about! i must have re-read at least a third of the sentences
...more
Kate
oh james baldwin! sometimes your long sentence structures, filled with commas, and, though often meandering (with semicolons!), through tacked on clauses, make me delightfully giddy! my favorite thing about this book is it's slightly self-critical tone - usually something lost by the time a writer achieves such literary fame. the childhood portion at the beginning is truly insightful and hinging on Freud. and I love the indulgent portrait of Malcolm X. three cheers.
Maya Reid
I've heard this referenced as Baldwin's angriest work. I was both awestruck and deeply disturbed by how relevant this book (and that anger) still is. Many of Baldwin's passages on racism in America, police brutality, and the condition of Black people in the US read as though they could have been written by one of today's Black voices, rather than a voice from 1972.

...I'm not sure where that leaves us as a country or a people.
Eleanore
An unflinching and personal account of the tumultuous Civil Rights period, as witnessed firsthand by one of its more acclaimed participants, author James Baldwin. This didn't serve as my introduction to Baldwin's work - I first read his essay "The Price of the Ticket" in 2009 - but he's an author who cannot be ignored, particularly as he pertains to the history of racial conflict in America.
Raphael Nelson
ust finished No Name in the Street and once again I am thoroughly impressed and moved. Baldwins ability to to intertwine his feelings and the social setting of Racist America sounds simple but really is captivating. Baldwins essay’s are like long conversations that give you a great glimpse of not only his perspective but your own
Serina
Baldwin's eloquent reflections on the social climate of his time shed light on the fact that although there has been progression over the last few decades there is still much to be accomplished. In many ways I was able to relate to his experiences and would regard his perspective as enlightening.
Michael
James Baldwin can use a comma like nobody's business. His insight into race relations during the civil rights movement of the 1960s is without precedent. He has a way of looking at a given situation and turning it on its head to see it from the other side as if seeing it for the first time.
Ashley Cobb


James Baldwin presents an interesting perspective into America and Paris. He steers clear if speaking from a black perspective per-say. He comes from his own perspective rooted in his relationships and observations with whites.
Leah Shirley
amazing, riveting, saddening, and humbling all at the same time. One of the most ignored and recognized black leaders all at the same time. I enjoy anything and everything by James Baldwin and highly recommend his autobio.
SweetPea
Insightful and thought provoking. The author shares his views on race through his experiences in and outside of the US.
Christopher
If it's not as essential as The Fire Next Time, it's equally doomed, and, just like that book, it offers no comfort to anyone, and no excuses. I share other readers' complaints that the book could be more linear.
Mike Anderson
Baldwin's wicked pissed at this point. Embittered. Understandable, obvious but sad. Not his best. Interesting to compare to Notes of a Native Son.
Cat
Dreadfully dull, and not engaging. He immediately assumes you know all about him and refers to MLK Jr as Martin, ensuring the reader is rather alienated.
Jed.holtz
I'm almost finished with this raw and passionate personal document of the sixties and seventies. This book has been like a brillo pad on my brain.
Ryan Dilbert
What a waste of Mr. Baldwin's talents. This tangental "book" is mostly just directionless mish-mash.
Lisalivid
I have to say it was amazing reading this book during the final days of the election.
Prooost Davis
Wow. James Baldwin will open your eyes, if they're capable of being opened.
Alison
part autobiography, part collection of thoughts/feelings. love it.
Carol Palmer
Such a wonderful and powerful account of a short life.
Torry
I learned that James Baldwin is a genius...
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.

James Baldwin offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. The eldest of nine children, his stepfather was a minister. At age 14, Bal
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More about James Baldwin...
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“Nakedness has no color: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being.” 74 likes
“It must be remembered that in those great days I was considered to be an "integrationist" - this was never, quite, my own idea of myself - and Malcolm was considered to be a "racist in reverse." This formulation, in terms of power - and power is the arena in which racism is acted out - means absolutely nothing: it may even be described as a cowardly formulation. The powerless, by definition, can never be "racists," for they can never make the world pay for what they feel or fear except by the suicidal endeavor which makes them fanatics or revolutionaries, or both.” 12 likes
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