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The 19 Best James Baldwin Books, Ranked by Goodreads Members

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  • James Baldwin (1924-1987) was an American writer and activist.
  • He wrote critical essays and classic works of fiction that illuminate racism in America.
  • We used Goodreads to determine the 19 most popular James Baldwin books.

James Baldwin was an American writer and activist known for his passions about race, sexuality, and class in America. A key voice in the Civil Rights and gay liberation movements, Baldwin’s work reveals criticisms of racism that prevailed in nearly all facets of society, from relationships to politics to cinema. No matter the medium, his work is regarded as honest, insightful, and passionate. 

We used Goodreads rankings to determine the most popular James Baldwin books. With over 125 million members, Goodreads members can rate and review their favorite works. Whether you’re looking to read Baldwin’s searing essay collections and powerful novels or explore his insightful plays and poetry, here are some of his best works. 

Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches books.

The 19 best James Baldwin books, according to Goodreads members:

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