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Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
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Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)

by James Baldwin

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English (65)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
What I liked most about James Baldwins' novel "Go Tell it on the Mountain" was that it had a rawness to it that made it feel like a true story (and after reading, I learned it was indeed semi-autobiographical.) The characters are really rich, troubled and vibrant, which made for an interesting tale.

In the novel, John is turning 14 and coming into his own, just as his family hoped by becoming saved and starting down the path toward becoming a preacher. In doing so, he follows in the footsteps of his stepfather, a tyrannical man who is physically abusive in the hopes of saving people to being sinners. John is trying to reconcile his relationship with God with his relationship with the imperfect man who brings God to his doorstep each Sunday (and beyond.)

At times this was a tough read because the characters had such a realness to them, and they all were fairly unhappy. Although this is heavy on religion, which isn't typically a favorite topic for me, I liked this book a lot because the characters were so well drawn. ( )
1 vote amerynth | Oct 13, 2018 |
Go Tell It On the Mountain like many classics was a tough read for me. This was a great audio production. Adam Lazarre-White has a wonderful deep resonant voice that kept me going through some of the challenging scenes. There was one part that reminded me of Revelations in the bible. I had a little trouble with that as I do with that book of the bible. An interesting look at a family. Left me wondering what happens now? ( )
  njcur | Sep 28, 2018 |
A semi-autobiographical novel, Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin takes place over the course of young John Grimes fourteenth birthday. John spends the day reflecting on his life, the people in it and the conditions he lives with. His is a racist society and his violent preacher stepfather does nothing to make his life easier. Set in Harlem, the book seems to describe one harrowing incident after another.

James Baldwin has been recognized as one of the foremost black American writers, and this short and angry novel was the one that brought him to fame. The author’s rage simmers just under the surface while his beautiful writing captures the reader emotionally and draws them into the story. Touching on themes of religion, family and race there is a lot here for the reader to absorb but the author delivers his story with an evangelistic passion. Go Tell It On The Mountain is a powerful story that is abrasive, resolute and poetic. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 4, 2018 |
This almost made it as one of my favorites but the ending was disappointing. The aspect which I loved was the emotional depth at which the reader got to know the characters, especially given that, in the lives they were leading, they hardly knew each other. Baldwin’s writing is so brilliant that I felt like I actually knew these people and was inside their minds. There were other major themes incredibly built in as well. Incredible! ( )
  joyfulmimi | Jun 3, 2018 |
Plus a half star and maybe the full star. I read half this book before I could put it down. I feels part like a long poem, part like a song. A window on another world which is my world too - and I should never forget that. Cultural and institutional pressures are fierce and unrelenting in this book but the people are still portrayed as agents too. You can see how their struggles make changes to their world possible and however heartrending the detail there's a sense of possibility, not doom. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Baldwinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cosgrave, John O'HaraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Hagan, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Dedication
For my father and mother
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Everyone had always said that John would be a preacher when he grew up, just like his father.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385334575, Paperback)

First published in 1953 when James Baldwin was nearly 30, Go Tell It on the Mountain is a young man's novel, as tightly coiled as a new spring, yet tempered by a maturing man's confidence and empathy. It's not a long book, and its action spans but a single day--yet the author packs in enough emotion, detail, and intimate revelation to make his story feel like a mid-20th-century epic. Using as a frame the spiritual and moral awakening of 14-year-old John Grimes during a Saturday night service in a Harlem storefront church, Baldwin lays bare the secrets of a tormented black family during the depression. John's parents, praying beside him, both wrestle with the ghosts of their sinful pasts--Gabriel, a preacher of towering hypocrisy, fathered an illegitimate child during his first marriage down South and refused to recognize his doomed bastard son; Elizabeth fell in love with a charming, free-spirited young man, followed him to New York, became pregnant with his son, and lost him before she could reveal her condition.

Baldwin lays down the terrible symmetries of these two blighted lives as the ironic context for John's dark night of the soul. When day dawns, John believes himself saved, but his creator makes it clear that this salvation arises as much from blindness as revelation: "He was filled with a joy, a joy unspeakable, whose roots, though he would not trace them on this new day of his life, were nourished by the wellspring of a despair not yet discovered."

Though it was hailed at publication for its groundbreaking use of black idiom, what is most striking about Go Tell It on the Mountain today is its structure and its scope. In peeling back the layers of these damaged lives, Baldwin dramatizes the story of the great black migration from rural South to urban North. "Behind them was the darkness," Baldwin writes of Gabriel and Elizabeth's lost generation, "nothing but the darkness, and all around them destruction, and before them nothing but the fire--a bastard people, far from God, singing and crying in the wilderness!" This is Baldwin's music--a music in which rhapsody is rooted anguish--and there is none finer in American literature. --David Laskin

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Describes a day in the life of several members of a Harlem fundamentalist church. The saga of three generations of people is related through flashbacks.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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