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The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985

4.7  ·  Rating Details ·  340 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The works of James Baldwin constitute one of the major contributions to American literature in the twentieth century, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Price of the Ticket, a compendium of nearly fifty years of Baldwin's powerful nonfiction writing.

With truth and insight, these personal, prophetic works speak to the heart of the experience of race and identity
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Hardcover, First Edition, 712 pages
Published September 15th 1985 by St. Martin's Press
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The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm XBeloved by Toni MorrisonInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Best African American Books
86th out of 630 books — 821 voters
The Fire Next Time by James     BaldwinAnother Country by James     BaldwinGiovanni's Room by James     BaldwinGo Tell It on the Mountain by James     BaldwinGoing to Meet the Man by James     Baldwin
Best of James Baldwin
10th out of 22 books — 46 voters


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Community Reviews

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Miriam
Mar 03, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to catch the rhythm of his writing. And it took me even longer to start appreciating his message. Many of the early pieces are angry and critical and difficult to read--difficult for me as a white person. And I kept being mad that so much of what he holds against the U.S. deals with what the white MAN has done to the black MAN, including hurting or taking "his" women and children. I resented the sexism and I resented the anger directed at me. And then I kept reading and I ...more
Paul
Having wracked my brain for another possible contender for the title, I think the only genuine challenger to Baldwin as greatest American essayist of the late 20th century would be Gore Vidal.

And that comparison is telling, because one quickly realizes Baldwin's superiority even to the brilliant Vidal; eschewing the waspish, vituperative tone that Vidal would resort to at his bitchiest, Baldwin seems always to manifest a certain gravitas regrettably lacking in (too) many of Vidal's most memorab
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Cara Byrne
Jan 09, 2015 Cara Byrne rated it it was amazing
This incredibly comprehensive collection of essays is thought-provoking and relevant even decades after the essays were written. Of this mammoth collection, the essays that spoke most powerfully to me were "A Talk to Teachers," "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?" and "The Discovery of What It Means to Be an American." This is a fantastic resource to read alongside Baldwin's fiction and his picture book.
Korri
What strikes me about this text is how relevant Baldwin's essays remain after six decades. He articulates so eloquently the psychology of racial tensions and of white supremacy in the United States. If it was not for the publication date included on each title page you'd think he was using his considerable intellect and rhetorical powers to comment about the present. Although this book is marked 'read', I know I shall be continuously turning to it.
Megan
May 10, 2016 Megan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-justice
This is a collection of essays written between 1948 and 1985 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, but James Baldwin's words are equally relevant today. "The Fire Next Time" was the most powerful essay in the collection, which I believe that everyone, everywhere should read.
Matthew
Aug 05, 2007 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Generally, I hate such statements, however, Baldwin is quite possibly the greatest essayist of the 20th century!
Randa
Aug 03, 2008 Randa rated it it was amazing
The Price of the Ticket includes all Baldwin's nonfiction: jaw-dropping, prophetic, persuasive prose. Everyone should read this.
Wizzard
Jun 13, 2008 Wizzard rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing from cover to cover. Baldwin writes with style, perspective, many shifts in tone and message. His writing is potent and powerful. Let me stop drooling.
Brian
No writer like him, then or now.
Jennifer
Mar 05, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This is a must have!
Nikhil P. Freeman
Baldwin's grimoire, his collected magnum opus, on dealing with America's number one problem.
Mike
Aug 12, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I wish I had more to say - that there was some other dimension or variety of praise that I could lavish upon the man, one of my favorite writers in non-fiction and fiction - but there is not. What I can testify to is that The Price of the Ticket and its sister collection of non-fiction (published by the Library of America) include enough additional material to make the purchase worthwhile even if you own the other publications re-printed in this book. The five-star rating above is an evaluation ...more
Diane Ramirez
Jun 10, 2008 Diane Ramirez rated it it was amazing
This book was nothing short of a revelation for me. James Baldwin writes beautiful, powerful, conflicted, and brutal portrayals of life as an African American in the mid 20th century. Some of his essays -- the analyses of books and movies that touch on black life in the US, for example -- suffered a bit in their age. But the personal stuff? How where he grew up, in Harlem, like in other urban pockets of black-populated ghettos, the fathers hide their anger, their having to make compromises, in ...more
Lloyd Scott
Mar 29, 2009 Lloyd Scott rated it it was amazing

The amazing james baldwin.

For me as an educated black man this was a difficult read yet an honest and a profound read. This collection of mr. baldwin's essays go way back to his childhood and beyond, and especially the horrors that he dealt with growing up as a young black kid in harlem, and being harrassed by white cops who took him into the alley to see how big his private part was.

As usual mr. baldwin's voice resonates with honest, frank words that he writes ever so eloquently yet truthful. Y
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Lauri-Ann
Sep 01, 2016 Lauri-Ann rated it it was amazing
This is one of the finest books I have ever read. I don't collect books, but I want this book in my personal library.

The book is fascinating because many of the essays he wrote about civil rights and race in America were written while the issues and events he wrote about were actually occurring. Sadly much of what he described is still topical today.

The book also contains reviews of films, books, and plays.

Many of the pieces would be emotionally burdensome and hard to read in the hands of anyon
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Scott Hutchins
Jun 28, 2012 Scott Hutchins rated it it was amazing
I love Baldwin's fiction, but this collection of essays blows me away. His nonfiction voice is compassionate, self-deprecating, and incredibly smart. There's something of the oldest brother in his tone (I mean that in a good way). How he could see into the American heart so clearly is a mystery and a triumph. "Notes of a Native Son" is the most anthologized, but my favorite is "Stranger in the Village." It makes me wish I was half as fierce and good as Baldwin.
Robert Wechsler
May 02, 2013 Robert Wechsler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit
James Baldwin’s essays are almost frighteningly intelligent. He has a way of criticizing ideas that gently rips them to pieces. He manages to mock almost everyone and everything, and yet be loving and understanding. There is some garbage in his ideas, but not too much, certainly far less than those he pillories.
Sara
Mar 22, 2012 Sara rated it liked it
This is not something that you can rush through. I have been reading it on and off for two months. Each essay takes a good deal of time and thought to process and reflect upon. Although his topics are not in my particular areas of expertise or study, I found many things in them to enjoy and contemplate.
Rebecca Lawrence
Nov 08, 2012 Rebecca Lawrence rated it it was amazing
I've seen the documentary with the same title and it gives some background on what mindsets Baldwin was in during these writings. What can you really say about the inner thoughts of an intellectual such as Baldwin? Brilliant.
Timothy Tyson
Oct 26, 2012 Timothy Tyson rated it it was amazing
If I were going to prison or the proverbial desert isle, and could only take one book, this volume might well be the one I would choose.
Joshunda Sanders
Joshunda Sanders rated it it was amazing
Dec 24, 2007
Mike
Mike rated it it was amazing
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Mar 17, 2015
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Jul 25, 2016
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Oct 28, 2014
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Sep 01, 2014
Liz McLellan
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Dec 20, 2008
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Help me find a copy? 1 6 Dec 03, 2008 12:09PM  
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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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“Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably – because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.” 37 likes
“The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” 22 likes
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