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Dark Days

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,169 ratings  ·  251 reviews
'So the club rose, the blood came down, and his bitterness and his anguish and his guilt were compounded'

Drawing on Baldwin's own experiences of prejudice in an America violently divided by race, these searing essays blend the intensely personal with the political to envisage a better world.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Pen
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Paperback, 50 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by Penguin Classics
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Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,169 ratings  ·  251 reviews


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Lisa
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you want to understand racism in America, read Baldwin!

If you want to understand the system that kills equality within its democratic institutions, listen to what he has to say about education.

If you want to truly, deeply, honestly hear how racism breaks people before they even have a chance to grow up and develop dreams, read Baldwin.

And then close your eyes, and add what he writes about being homosexual in this world. For all those who glibly think "we have improved", think about how to de
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Sue
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was sent to me so that I could familiarise myself with this authors work.

This is short. A very short read holding three essays by him going over and past the prejudice and racism of America.

It made for very interesting reading.
Also shows how the past influences the present.
leynes
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-writers
YES YES YES! Angry Baldwin is my favorite Baldwin, and boy, was he angry in this. I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to Penguin's Mini Modern Classics series because the majority of its selection seems half-assed and really not well thought through; but this selection of Baldwin's essays delivered on all the right fronts.

Dark Days combines three essays written by Baldwin on the topic of race relations in the United States of America. The White Man's Guilt (1965) was written amidst the Civil Rig
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Alice Florence
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a cliche to state that these essays speak to our current time in a way that transcends history, so I won't. Instead I will say that Baldwin's voice is an unmistakable one: something firm, thoughtful, and lyrical. That voice is the spine of these three essays, separated by decades but feel in no other sense disconnected. Pull out a sentence, consider them as a collection, or place them in the body of his work and they respond in the same intelligent and poignant way, illuminating the lived ...more
The Artisan Geek


9/2/20
A splendid introduction to Baldwin's writing, both strong in content and prose! My favourite essay was The White Man's Guilt.

You can find me on
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MJ Nicholls
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Only fifty pages of the Master?!?! Absolutely shocking.
Tara
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
it's terrifying to see how relevant it still is in today's world, i can't wait to read more of baldwin's work ...more
Katarina
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"One realizes later that there is no one to outwit but oneself."

Great and quick introduction to Baldwin's work. His three essays found in this Penguin modern classics mini edition are as relevant and importand as they were when they were first published, one in '65. and the other two in the 80's. This only shows that society has changed very little, definitely less then we (are made to) believe.
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Olivia-Savannah
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading any of Baldwin’s work and my, was he angry in this text. Rightfully so, and he channels this by talking about his own experiences a black man living and growing up in America. There’s a clear us vs them distinguished in the text, but it’s not him that has distilled that there is a separation between the two skin colours. It’s racism. He stressed the importance of education and love. He talks about the various institutes that are racist – even the church. He talks a ...more
Dannii Elle
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. In the contrary, 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. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is the history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations. And it is with great pain and terro ...more
Katie
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic, 2018
It is haunting that in 2018 this could have been written last week.
Bárbara
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
all the stars. a must read if I ever saw one!
Chris
”History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. In the contrary, 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. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is the history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations. And it is with great pain and terro ...more
Joanka
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: men, usa, non-fiction
This is such a tiny book, a booklet almost. Still, it took me a moment to finish because it resonated with me, I felt like marking so many quotes I regretted reading it on a tram. The pictures painted by Baldwin were vivid and thought-provoking, while his commentary more up-to-date than anyone would like to admit. Dark Days is a collection of three essays on race and identity, written not long before the author’s death. I loved how emotional they were, full of anger, empathy and the heartfelt at ...more
Nabila Shaikh
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"My point of view certainly is formed by my history, and it is probable that only a creature despised by history finds history a questionable matter."

Dark days is a short book containing 3 essays about racism. I can tell that he wrote these in sort of an angry disposition but I'm inclined to say: that's what made them so perfect.
They're incredibly eloquent, relevant & applicable even decades later.

He talks about his own experiences whilst making his points which paint a raw, heart-rending por
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Farah Firdaus
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
To be black was to confront, and to be forced to alter, a condition forged in history. To be white was to be forced to digest a delusion called white supremacy.

What struck me mostly about this book is how relevant James Baldwin’s essays remain after decades. His prose, while angry and melancholic in this text, is refreshing and powerful. Everything in this book still holds true today, nothing has changed. Especially in the U.S politics context, on what it means to be black in America. Except
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Sarah K
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Far too relevant - Baldwin should be mandatory reading for all Americans right now.
Nicola
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The purpose of these little volumes is to introduce you to an author and, presumably, make you want to read/buy more of their books. This one succeeds at that.
blue
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"The irreducible price of learning is realizing that you do not know. One may go further and point out - as any scientist, or artist, will tell you - that the more you learn, the lest you know; but that means that you have begun to accept, and are even able to rejoice in, the relentless conundrum of your life."

I read this extract when I took this book off the shelf in a bookstore, the next thing I did was to buy this tiny book of essays. It's my first time properly reading James Baldwin and I ha
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sara sanda sandra
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The fact that everything in this book echoes painfully real and true nowadays, still, half a century after, is shameful to us, humanity as a whole.
Marritt Claassens
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I could I would give 10 *

My first time reading Baldwin. Three short essays on his experiences of prejudice in a racially devided America. It's a great introduction to his work. Very relevant to this day. I read it with present day South Africa in mind.
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Ugh
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Three essays: the first a really interesting young personal and New York history; the second a slightly less clear, slightly later life personal history; and the third a highly, as it were, unnecessarily, indeed, parenthetical rant about historical guilt that presumes to know what all white people think (they're all the same, no doubt).

Baldwin could write beautifully and incoherently, clearly and illogically. This short collection doesn't give much indication of which was more usual for him, but
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Ana Rita
May 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
a poetic, devastating but also enriching experience

“I remember being totally unable to recite the Pledge of Allegiance until I was seven years old. Why? At seven years old I was not a card-carrying Communist, and no one had told me not to recite ‘with liberty and justice for all’. In fact, my father thought that I should recite it for safety’s sake. But I knew he believed it no more than I, and that his recital of the pledge had done nothing to contribute to his safety, to say nothing of the tor
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Türkan
“White man, hear me! History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer, merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, 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.”

This is my first introduction to James Baldwin, and what a start. It's almost eerie and frightening how true his essays are, although they w
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Elena
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
‘The irreducible price of learning is realising that you do not know’, and in the wake of the horrific and turbulent year past, Baldwin forces you to weep at your own ignorance and try, just try to understand.
Dillon
Jul 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
impeccable. such a brilliant mind. each essay was immaculate but 'The Price Of The Ticket' was easily the standout ...more
Jacobcerisgandy
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After reading Giovanni’s Room and Dark Days, I Am going to read Every James Baldwin Book I Can Find.
areebah
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
One word; wow.

Harsh truths but expressed in a lyrical yet brutal way. Baldwin’s voice is still so relevant! This was a great introduction to his essays too; I can't wait to delve into his other works.
4.5★
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Marie S.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bought-in-2018
It's sad that it didn't really work for me, because I enjoy Baldwin's ideas.
The first essay was good, the real problem for me was the second one. I didn't get what he was trying to say and it was long and dragging, and I felt that the subject was constantly changing without getting any point across.
The third one was short, but I like the part about History being our present not our past.

If the collection wasn't that short, I would have DNF it probably.
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Nathan Nguyen
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
Dark Days is, certainly, one of Baldwin’s less popular works—that it is, in size, comparable to Chairman Mao’s little red book, I imagine, is one reason, for I can barely see it on my bookshelf, wedged between Another Country and Giovanni’s Room—yet, I bought it anyway (and, for only two bucks!). A compilation of three essays, the pamphlet features "Dark Days" (1980), "The Price of the Ticket" (1985)—which is also the title of one of his larger collections, which, unfortunately, is seldom found, ...more
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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. He was the eldest of nine children; his stepfather was a minister. At age
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“No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide.” 7 likes
“White man, hear me! History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer, merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, 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.” 3 likes
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