Randall Kenan continues Baldwin's legendary tradition of 'telling it on the mountain.'- San Francisco Chronicle. Combining elements of memoir and commentary, this homage is a piercing consideration of the times, and an impassioned call to transcend them.
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James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time" was one of the essential books of the sixties and one of the most galvanizing statements of the American civil rights movement. Now, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, with a new generation confronting what Baldwin called a 'racial nightmare', acclaimed writer Randall Kenan asks: How far have we come? Combining elements of memoir and commentary, this homage is a piercing consideration of the times, and an impassioned call to transcend them.
'Kenan demands attention.' The Observer'Kenan continues Baldwin's legendary tradition of 'telling it on the mountain'.' San Francisco Chronicle'An intelligent homage to James Baldwin's celebrated 1963 The Fire Next Time, and in important book in its own right ... a perfect catalyst for lively discussion, and a fine state-of-the-issues update on Baldwin's 45-year-old touchstone.' Publishers Weekly'A terrific homage to James Baldwin's great essay.' The Boston Phoenix'A rousing wake-up call. He [has] a grasp of how blackness is glimpsed today, from the spectacle of "the black male" to the marketing triumph of hip-hop, to the age-old trickster figures such as Brer Rabbit whom he says point the way out of some of the most enduring quagmires: improvisation.' The Star-Ledger'Insightful, taut, elegantly written ... One cannot read this book without coming away with feelings of hope. We may continue to stumble at times in what Wynton Marsalis has called this dance we've been doing since the founding of the republic. But reading Randall Kenan, one knows somehow that the dance is worth each step.' The Herald-Sun
Randall Kenan is the author of several books including the biography James Baldwin: American Writer and Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the 21st Century. His work has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Award, the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and numerous other prizes. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.