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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 (55)  Dutch (1)  All (56)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
The story of John Grimes, a young man living in Harlem in the 1930's. His relationship with his strict preacher-father, Gabriel, who moved from the South to escape his past, is the central focus of this compelling drama.
  ObamaCenterBJ | Sep 26, 2017 |
I found this a really powerful novel. Looks at the life of a young intelligent African American John and his relationship with his father and the church. Simply written but very moving for me. ( )
1 vote kale.dyer | May 15, 2017 |
I don't know why I hadn't read James Baldwin before, but this year I am trying to rectify that lapse. This is a brilliant, character-driven book, with beautiful use of language. A large part of the book is the coming of age of 14 year old John, who is a surrogate for the author. Although I am not at all religious, I was pulled in by how the family members depicted in this book relied upon and wrestled with their faith in the light of painful experiences, including racism, death, hypocrisy, abandonment, various temptations and abuse. Reading this was a wonderful experience. Adam Lazarre-White was an excellent narrator of the audiobook. ( )
  fhudnell | May 13, 2017 |
Although this was well-written, I can't say I enjoyed reading this novel about a dysfunctional family affected by fanatical religious family members and other characters here. Overall, kind of a downer, and I'm not sure the ending made complete sense to me; possibly it was left for interpretation by the reader. In spite of the dark tone of this book, I still would like to try to read more of Baldwin's work eventually. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Apr 26, 2017 |
Some of the character studies were compelling, but (and I hate to sound like a reddit atheist here) Christianity is extremely goofy to me so I couldn't take the religious struggles seriously at all. ( )
  xicohtli | Jul 20, 2016 |
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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
First words
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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