The Price of the Ticket
Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985
By James Baldwin
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312643065, 704pp.)
Publication Date: September 1985
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The works of James Baldwin constitute one of the major contributions to American literature in the twentieth century, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Price of the Ticket, a compendium of nearly fifty years of Baldwin's powerful nonfiction writing. With truth and insight, these personal, prophetic works speak to the heart of the experience of race and identity in the United States. Here are the full texts of Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Devil Finds Work, along with dozens of other pieces, ranging from a 1948 review of Raintree Country to a magnificent introduction to this book that, as so many of Mr. Baldwin's works do, combines his intensely private experience with the deepest examination of social interaction between the races. In a way, The Price of the Ticket is an intellectual history of the twentieth-century American experience; in another, it is autobiography of the highest order.
James Baldwin's celebrated works of fiction include Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, Another Century, Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, If Beale Street Could Talk, Just Above My Head, and the short story collection Going to Meet the Man. He was also the author of a book of poetry, Jimmy's Blues, two dramatic works, Blues for Mister Charlie and The Amen Corner, and many works of nonfiction, including Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, and Notes of a Native Son. Born in Harlem in 1924, he lived for many years in France, where he died in 1987.
"Together, these essays document the changes and development of intellectual styles and values between the period when they were written for such magazines as New Leader and Partisan Review and the present . . . The Price of the Ticket collects much of the best work of one of our finest living writers."—Sam Cornish, The Christian Science Monitor
"James Baldwin's essays on race in America are enlightening, entertaining and, because of his remarkable prescience, a bit eerie . . . In these 51 pieces all of which appeared in magazines or previous collections, Mr. Baldwin covers a diverse range of subjects. But a theme runs through them all—many of our national ills stem from a retreat from self-knowledge. This country's mistreatment of blacks is the best symbol of the discordance between the American myth and reality, Mr. Baldwin contends."—Salim Muwakkil, The New York Times Book Review
"James Baldwin became a national figure and remained one until his death, two years before which his collected nonfiction, The Price of the Ticket, came out. Anyone wishing to take Baldwin's measure as a man and writer while, incidentally, getting a vivid picture of Harlem during World War II, must begin with this book."—William Corbett, author of New York Literary Lights