According to Eddie S. Glaude Jr., we live at a time in which those who attempt to achieve a new, better America have been challenged by the election of Trump, a president whose victory represents yet another failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race. His administration has embraced and advanced the the insidious belief that white people matter more than others, giving rise to horrific events like those that took place at Charlottesville.
Glaude also contends, however, that we have been here before, and James Baldwin was around to see it. Following the abrupt end of the Civil Rights Movement and the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Baldwin transformed into a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. He wrote about the “after times,” and emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair. Begin Again is Glaude’s endeavor, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.
Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:
“In the midst of an ugly Trump regime and a beautiful Baldwin revival, Eddie Glaude has plunged to the profound depths and sublime heights of Baldwin’s prophetic challenge to our present-day crisis.”—Cornel West
“Begin Again is an unparalleled masterpiece of social criticism. Glaude thinks alongside America’s finest essayist, matching the master’s firepower, brilliance, courage, and sensitivity at every turn. He pushes, prods and disrobes history, forcing us to face uncomfortable truths and insisting upon our better inheritances. Glaude’s stunningly crafted prose—incisive, vulnerable, and beautiful—is as breathtaking as his brilliance. This book is precisely the witness we need for our treacherous times.”—Imani Perry, author of Breathe and Looking for Lorraine
“In this searing, provocative, and ultimately hopeful book, Eddie Glaude, Jr., takes us on a fascinating journey through the mind and heart of James Baldwin. But a parallel odyssey through Glaude’s own formidable mind and generous heart unfolds as well—an odyssey that tells us much about the way we live now and how we might come to live if we could, to borrow a phrase of Lincoln’s, think anew and act anew. One need not agree with everything in these pages to learn much from them, and for Americans seeking to understand our past, our present, and the possible futures before us, Begin Again challenges, illuminates, and points us toward, if not a more perfect union, at least a more just one.”—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America and Destiny and Power
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