James Baldwin

A Biography
Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (178 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This is a biography of James Baldwin, author, one-time preacher, and civil rights activist. He chose David Leeming, a close friend and colleague, to write his biography and granted him access to his correspondence. Leeming traces his life from his birth in Harlem in 1924 to his self-imposed exile in Europe, his later years as political activist, and his public funeral in 1987.

©1994 David Leeming, First Arcade Edition 2015 (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about James Baldwin

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A great biography of a great man

This biography of James Baldwin is very well researched, engaging, and very balanced. Baldwin as a black man dealing with racism and oppression, Baldwin as a gay man facing homophobia, Baldwin as religious man seeking the divine, and Baldwin as author perfecting his craft all get more or less equal treatment.

Leeming knows and attends to the history of Baldwin's time and the political and social issues of the day; he is very familiar with Baldwin's fictional and non-fictional texts. The book moves well and can be read along with Baldwin's novels to bring additional depth to the reading of his works. The audio performance is very good.

Highly recommended.

16 people found this helpful

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Awesome!

Highly recommended! The reader was excellent. This is the most important book that I have read in a long, long, long time!

--Stephen York

11 people found this helpful

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  • JC
  • 03-23-17

Must read for all Americans

must read for those who want to better understand and appreciate what it to be an American. We are not just black or White.. We're a mixed collective group of people Who have not excepted the fact that we are all related. America will never truly be free until we can see the humanity in each other and not our color.

9 people found this helpful

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Best Story Ever Told

once I hit play, I couldn't stop listening until the end. James Baldwin was and is a magnificent man. Everything he did and said continues to be relevant in 2020.

6 people found this helpful

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Masterful narration, beautiful story

I downloaded this book to get an introductory overview to James Baldwin’s body of work. It delivered beyond my wildest imagination. It’s intimate, detailed but not tedious. I highly recommended it.

5 people found this helpful

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James Baldwin a biography

The author treated the subject with the respect that he was worthy of, his life examines humanity as we are forced to look at our selves.

4 people found this helpful

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Notes of a Native Son

James Arthur Baldwin, born August 02, 1924-December 01, 1987, is phenomenal novelist, essayist, playwright, activist and the Prophet with a deep insight into American racism and inequality. In many of Mr. Baldwin novels he weaves racism, inequality, sexual preferences between men, friends and foes. Mr. Baldwin was a gifted intellectual that understood the struggle of dispossessed human beings in an American society of perpetual racism and discrimination. Mr. Baldwin lived in Istanbul Turkey, Paris France and traveled widely to attend many seminars for the purpose of fellowship with international writers. Mr. Baldwin writings have as much insight into the human psyche as the works of Mr. William Shakespeare “Hamlet” which contain the agony, triumph and resilience of the human spirit. His works are highly recommended.

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this is a must buy

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I knew very little of James Baldwin. I strongly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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The Witness

James Baldwin - A life well examined. What a life, lived to the fullest! One could be so lucky.

1 person found this helpful

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Baldwin a Biography

This book is a must read I highly recommended it, a excellent read. It helped me to understand the man. I love James Baldwin now I understand more about him and his life. Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael Gayle
  • 04-05-17

James Baldwin Review

l found this book very good and a greater understanding of a complex genius, and a man of love without exception!!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • John Adamson
  • 05-03-20

Must try harder

A worthy and pedestrian biography of a figure whose times are more interesting than his life. James Cronin could not have been more ill chosen as the narrator of this book, as it bristles with French place names and titles of books, and French is clearly a language as unfamiliar to him as a dialect from Mars. There are few French terms that Cronin fails to get wrong. Leeming’s biography needed, but failed to find, a good editor. His synopses of Baldwin’s books rarely rise above the level of tutorial notes. But there is much interesting information about B’s involvement with the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and the book is worth reading for these passages alone.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Forever hopefull
  • 10-08-17

inspiring, tragic and heroic

A well written and performed audio book. Baldwin is an inspiring and heroic figure . His life seemed to me to be a striving for the freedom to love and be loved, personally and nationally. I recognise the messy contradictions, hopes and despair of this all too familiar feature of human experience. There is often a tragic undertone to this necessary struggle and this is clear in Baldwin's life and times.

4 people found this helpful

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  • C Nixon Stewart
  • 11-30-19

A must read

This biography could only have been written by a close friends. I must say that I have learned not only of the life and work of this black man but it has sparked a fire in me. It is easy to identify with Jimmy his creativity, austere mind but the problems with managing identity - black, gay, foreigner, native and the struggles of the human condition. The passion for involved in communicating a message for all.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Aqasa Nu
  • 05-31-19

The optimism of love in the face of injustice

Baldwin the witness to the struggle the fight for equality. He was in the trenches for ALL of us.

1 person found this helpful

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  • paula charnley
  • 01-29-19

wonderful

a fantastic in depth biography. I listened whilst travelling around Thailand, really couldn't put it down. I understand why James Baldwin resonated with me when I discovered him by accident in my 20's. I love his philosophy of life & love. thank you writer & narrator

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aston Jones
  • 04-27-17

Echoes of life.

in my listening of this work, I ask myself questions of my truth ? Myself.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J. Mann
  • 09-22-20

Brilliant and moving

I didn't know too much about James Baldwin but what a story his life was! Living through some of the most difficult years of American history (although when you think about it they've all been pretty difficult), he was a witness to that history, and wrote as a prophet to his people.

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  • Michael
  • 08-26-20

James is a true visionary

You may need to read James's stories, letters and poems before you get into this book. It feels like its telling the life of James through his stories. There is lots of references to the stories he wrote, what they meant to him and how he saw the world through those stories. Overall, its a powerful book and I have so much respect and love for the man James Baldwin.

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  • DRJ London
  • 06-30-20

captivating

Excellent biography, very informative and beautifully read. I now want to read Baldwin's work. Brilliant.

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  • Rodney Wetherell
  • 03-24-19

Good reading of high-quality biography

It was great to have access to David Leeming's biography of James Baldwin. Despite Baldwin's fame, I knew little in detail of his background or life story, and this book has filled in many gaps for me. Leeming knew Baldwin very well, but has the ability to step back and see his flaws, and place him within the movement for black civil rights. I read several of Baldwin's books, way back, and now feel I must go back to read those I have not read, and re-read others.