The Man Who Cried I Am
John A. Williams
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A black expat writer uncovers a sinister plot to destroy the American civil rights movement in this exceptionally powerful novel, which includes an introduction by bestselling author Walter Mosley.
On a warm spring afternoon in 1964, Max Reddick sits at an outdoor café in Amsterdam, nursing a glass of Pernod. Along with the large doses of morphine running through his veins, the alcohol allows him to forget the painful disease ravaging his body, but it also prompts him to reflect on the circumstances that have brought him to this point—made him who he is today.
From the streets of New York City to the jazz clubs of Paris and Amsterdam, from the battlefields of World War II to the Oval Office, Max’s journey as an African American author and journalist has brought him into the nexus of hypocrisy and duplicity surrounding segregation and civil rights time and again. But nothing he has encountered could have prepared him for the devastating and dangerous truth he now faces.
Through the eyes of Max, with penetrating fictional portraits of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X, among other historical figures, author John A. Williams reveals the hope, courage, and bitter disappointment of African American intellectuals in the postwar era.
Infused with powerful artistry and searing anger, as well as insight, humanity, and vision, The Man Who Cried I Am is a modern American classic.
“The most powerful novel about blacks in America since Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.” —San Francisco Examiner
“A bitter, beautiful, and feverish depiction of the failed promises of the civil-rights era.” —The New Yorker
“A blockbuster . . . an intensely American book—bitter, frank, honest . . . At the same time, the book soars past American boundaries. Readers white and black may find in it either hope or terror.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An exceptionally powerful novel . . . gracefully written, angry but acute, committed but controlled, obviously timely, but deserving of attention for far more than that.” —The New York Times
“Absorbing and disturbing . . . a book to keep you reading into the midnight hours.” —Chicago Tribune
“An absorbing story . . . driven by a furious beat, and constantly illuminated by the real-life drama behind the fictional one.” —The Nation
“Its insights are considerable; its power cannot be gainsaid; its humanity everywhere abounds; its anger and its pain are its triumphs.” —The Plain Dealer
“Probably the best novel written about the 1960s . . . John A. Williams is probably the best African-American writer of the century.” —Ishmael Reed
“Very powerful . . . Obviously in the Baldwin and Ellison class . . . Magnificent.” —John Fowles
“A big, overpowering book . . . It is impossible not to be moved by Mr. Williams’s tormented hero.” —The Daily Telegraph
John A. Williams was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1925. He has been a foreign correspondent for Newsweek as well as Professor of English at Rutgers University. Among his numerous awards are the American Book Award, the Richard Wright-Jacques Roumain Award, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award.