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Publisher's Summary

James Baldwin’s stunning first novel is now an American classic. With startling realism that brings Harlem and the black experience vividly to life, this is a work that touches the heart with emotion while it stimulates the mind with its narrative style, symbolism, and excoriating vision of racism in America. Moving through time from the rural South to the northern ghetto, Baldwin chronicles a 14-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Go Tell it on the Mountain is an unsurpassed portrayal of human beings caught up in a dramatic struggle and of a society confronting inevitable change.

©1981 James Baldwin (P)2013 AudioGO

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Masterful First Novel

What made the experience of listening to Go Tell It On the Mountain the most enjoyable?

What made my experience of listening to Go Tell It On the Mountain the most enjoyable was Baldwin's writing. It was deep and eloquent, reflecting Baldwin's experience as a storefront preacher.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Go Tell It On the Mountain?

The spiritual conversion of the main character was one of the most memorable moments of Go Tell It On the Mountain. It was dreamlike and based upon Biblical visions.

Have you listened to any of Adam Lazarre-White’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to any of Adam Lazarre-White's other performances before, but he captured the heart of this book, performing it as a preacher, a prophet, and a poet.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

An extreme reaction I had to this book is that it is a dense, multilayered read. I am unaccustomed to reading such complex writing on faith. I will have to listen to this book a second time to catch what I missed the first time.

Any additional comments?

Be prepared for an eloquent, moving story.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Aperio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • 03-26-15

A 5 Star Listen!

This book is a gem! The characters are rich and deep. It's an intriguing story about the lives of three people caught between temptation and salvation. I also have to say the narrator is excellent. His voice is perfect and adds soul to the story.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 04-06-15

Knotted Around Some Raw Edge of My Soul

This was a slow read. In terms of pages and words it was a small book, but the river was deep and fierce. Baldwin is throwing out big themes on family, religion, race, sex. This isn't a beach read, it is a hard pew read in an unconditioned, hellfire and damnation church. I would read 40 pages and have to take a day to recover emotionally.

THIS book is why I read fiction. Look. I am white on white, again and again. Seriously, I took the Twenty-Three&Me DNA spit test and I am pretty deep into the white gene hole. How else, besides brilliant narrative fiction, am I going to understand anything about being black or being a black pentecostal WITHOUT reading Baldwin?

Baldwin's use of repetition was amazing. I haven't read recently (other than Moby-Dick) a novel that appears to be made, brick-by-brick, with more King James Bible pieces than Go Tell It on the Mountain. There are some novels where writer ties off every narrative thread. Baldwin wasn't satisfied with that. Each sad string in this novel seemed to end up threaded through some part of my heart and knotted around some raw edge of my soul.

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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GOD IS NOT THERE

"Go Tell It on the Mountain" because God is not there. "Go Tell It on the Mountain" because no one listens. "Go Tell It on the Mountain" because no one cares. James Baldwin rages against culture that makes one, what one is not. Baldwin wins fame from a book that defines the chains of discrimination. He explains why and how culture is a curse. Baldwin tells a story that explains why being different denies equal opportunity.

Being smart or being religious is not enough; particularly if you are a minority or a woman because cultures stultify individuality and restrict opportunity. Women, in Baldwin’s novel, are at once the saviors of black men and unwitting perpetuators of an unjust culture; i.e. women support their mates while accepting the delusion of a vengeful God that will punish evil; if not now, in an afterlife. The consequence in this earthly life is the perpetuation of inequality.

Individuality and opportunity are hindered by poor education and biases that are eternally engendered (institutionalized) by discrimination. Blacks have shown they are more than criminals, preachers, sports stars, and entertainers. And women have shown they are more than child bearers and housewives but America continues to struggle with equal opportunity for all. Baldwin exemplifies America’s struggle in "Go Tell It on the Mountain".

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Go Tell It On the Mountain

This book has been on my to read list for years and I can finally scratch it off! I did not have the mind shattering experience that I was expecting when I read it - in fact, it was rather difficult to listen to. I had to relisten to many sections over again. I'm not quite sure if this was because the narrators voice tends to drone off or because the subject matter had me a little bored but nonetheless, once I relistened to sections, I did want to keep going.

Overall, I think this is an important piece of literature. Not only from the perspective of the black experience during the early 20th century, but also in how big of an influence religion played and continues to play in many American lives. I would recommend for all to read it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • nray57
  • SPRINGFIELD, MO, US
  • 01-29-16

Preach!

I enjoyed the story of the characters, but I expected more to happen as the book went on. Yes, it is beautifully written, but much of it consists of the sermons being given by the stepfather, and much is told in the style of a sermon. So, as I tried to listen while driving to work, I found myself tuning it out. In the end, I was glad for it to be done. The narration was excellent; It just wanted to hear more of the family's experiences and less of the fire and brimstone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Literary brilliance

First book I've read by James Baldwin. Loved his command of the language with brilliant metaphors and such deep and honest descriptions which resonate with the soul.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Very heavily religious

Any additional comments?

Picked this up because apparently a classic of American literature. The characters are deep and detailed (and mostly very unhappy) and the author does very well giving you a chance to understand and sympathise with even the worst of them. However, I had a very hard time getting through this book because absolutely every aspect of the story is entirely tied up with religion (evangelical Christian), which not only saves the main character in a rather unbelievable ending but also seems to have caused most of everybody's problems in the first place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Testament

James Baldwin is an icon of the Civil Rights movement and one of the greatest intellectuals America has ever cultivated. Go tell it on the Mountain is Baldwin's semi-autobiographical novel and it provides more insight into the man than even some of his (also brilliant) essays.

Fair warning: Baldwin wasn't known for holding back when discussing some of the more gruesome parts of Black history so some of this is not for the feint of heart. That said, Baldwin's views on Christian spirituality in the Black community is equally powerful and unforgettable. Finally, Adam Lazarre-White's narration is spot on. Beyond highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JJ
  • 09-29-16

Intense and eye-opening

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to a friend. The story is intense and really opens your eyes to the life of early 20th century black people. Not always an easy listen, the story is fill with Christian imagery and the journey of man (and woman) as they each try to navigate the sometimes winding road of faith, love and family.

What did you like best about this story?

James Baldwin so vividly captures the lives/journeys of each character, you feel like you are listening to true stories. Redemption is mixed with failure, hope with crushing reality. You want so much for the characters but life, society and their personal choices dictate events in ways that connect and separate them at the same time.

Which scene was your favorite?

It's tempting to say the final scene in the church would be my favorite, but it's hard to really point out one. I'm a sucker for a clearly triumphant scene, and there were no such experience in this book. Every scene is nuanced with faith and despair irrevocably intertwined.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful