Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Book - 1980
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Random House, Inc.
James Baldwin's stunning first novel is now an American classic. With startling realism that brings Harlem and the black experience vividly to life, this is a work that touches the heart with emotion while it stimulates the mind with its narrative style, symbolism, and excoriating vision of racism in America. Moving through time from the rural South to the northern ghetto, starkly contrasting the attitudes of two generations of an embattles family, Go Tell It On The Mountain is an unsurpassed portrayal of human beings caught up in a dramatic struggle and of a society confronting inevitable change.

"The most important novel written about the American Negro," says Commentary. "It is written with poetic intensity and great narrative skill," writes Harper's. Saturday Review praises it as "masterful," and the San Francisco Chronicle declares that this important American novel is "brutal, objective and compassionate."

Baker & Taylor
This novel of Black life in America is written with an impartial attitude

Publisher: New York : Bantam Dell, 1980, c1963
Edition: Dell mass market ed
ISBN: 9780440330073
Branch Call Number: PAPERBACK Classics Bal
Characteristics: 263 p. ; 18 cm


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Sep 11, 2018

I'm torn. The writing is wonderful. It kept me reading. The story is a combination of disturbing and off putting. So much preaching of a violent nature ("going to beat sin out"). In the end, I can't say I like this story.
I feel a bit badly for James Baldwin as this is supposedly an autobiographical novel. I do hope his childhood had less violence in it.
The father in this story is the type of preacher who wants to be forgiven from their own sins and beat their helpless & innocent offspring as a means of accomplishing this, in the guise of "saving them". The child pays for the sin of the father without realizing that this is what's happening. Who gets saved in a case like this?
This is a hard story.

Franln Dec 17, 2017

I wanted to like this book more because I am so intrigued by James Baldwin, but it was not an easy read. The semi-autobiographical stories about his family's beginnings are definitely interesting, but about 1/3 of the book was a bunch of religiousy prose that I could not make sense of or get into. Still an amazing writer though.

Aug 01, 2014

This rating system doesn't work for me on this book. It's beautifully written and is a powerful image of the intricate latticework of emotions, culture, and family that make up John's world in a northern city in the early 20th century. I DO understand why some people turn to religion for hope in hard times and trying circumstances. Certainly the folks who inhabit this story have a need for the hope that there's something better later on; however, I'm not a fan of the hypocrisy of religion, those who use religion to justify their actions, or those who ascribe everything in their lives to some all-powerful, all-knowing force. Gabriel, in particular, rankled, which I'm sure Mr. Baldwin intended, but so did so many of the other characters' actions and attitudes. And for John, I almost cried at the ending, and not with happiness. So with all the sermonizing and testifying to wade through, I didn't "like" this book, but I'm glad I read it.

ZolaFan Jan 17, 2013

Powerful, powerful, powerful. Muscular and poetic prose. Leaves a lasting impression.

TKasongo Jul 09, 2012

I really enjoyed this book and the way James Baldwin writes is amazing. I love how poetic and descriptive he is.


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