Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061148507, 504pp.
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Arnold Rampersad (Ph.D. Harvard) is the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He is co-editor (with Deborah E. McDowell) of Slavery and the Literary Imagination, and editor of the definitive Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. He is the author of the two-volume biography The Life of Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson: A Biography, and co-author (with Arthur Ashe) of Days of Grace: A Memoir. He is also editor of The Harlem Renaissance.