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

4.72 of 5 stars 4.72  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  18 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
Hardcover, First Edition, 712 pages
Published September 15th 1985 by St. Martin's Press
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11th out of 22 books — 42 voters

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Community Reviews

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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 under ...more
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
Lloyd Scott

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
Diane Ramirez
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 o ...more
Cara Byrne
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.
Scott Hutchins
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.
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.
Robert Wechsler
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.
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
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.
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.
Timothy Tyson
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.
The Price of the Ticket includes all Baldwin's nonfiction: jaw-dropping, prophetic, persuasive prose. Everyone should read this.
Generally, I hate such statements, however, Baldwin is quite possibly the greatest essayist of the 20th century!
Nikhil P. Freeman
Baldwin's grimoire, his collected magnum opus, on dealing with America's number one problem.
Nov 29, 2011 Ammar is currently reading it
Jangan baca kuat-kuat, darah naik kepala nanti.
No writer like him, then or now.
This is a must have!
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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
More about James Baldwin...
Go Tell It on the Mountain Giovanni's Room The Fire Next Time Notes of a Native Son Another Country

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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.” 24 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.” 16 likes
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