Begin Again is the second of Eddie Glaude’s book that I have read. I appreciate Democracy in Black but thought when I read it that it may have been written a couple of years early because it was writing about how democracy still perpetuates racism during the Obama years. And reading it in the Trump years meant that I thought he was right, but not quite pointed enough.
Because there are few writers that I am fascinated by more than Baldwin (although he is not an easy read), I was interested in a trusted guide. That is what Eddie Glaude was seeking to do. He was both explicating Baldwin, but also placing him in context for a modern reader who is reading Baldwin years after his death and a half-century after he impacted the world.
Both Glaude and Baldwin are magnificent writers. There are phrases that just matter to strongly to read this a single time. Because of the cost (using Audible credits is always just over $9 a book for me) I picked up the Audible and listened to Glaude masterfully narrate his book. But I need to read this again in print. I will do that relatively soon (probably after the new year). But first I want to read a full biography of Baldwin and two or three more of Baldwin’s books. I have read five of Baldwin’s books, but that is not nearly enough. I am nearly finished with No Name on the Street (nonfiction), which is mentioned frequently in Born Again. I will also pick up at least one more of his fiction books before re-reading Born Again a second time.
Born Again is a mix of biography, cultural and literary criticism, and modern explication of his work with a dash of personal experience of Glaude. It is nicely balanced from a range of perspectives. And a skilled thinker and writer like Glaude who both places him in context and digs the depths is worth reading.