New York: The Dial Press, 1976. Single volume, measuring 8.25 x 5.5 inches: , 122. Original maroon boards lettered in red foil, maroon endpapers, original unclipped pictorial dustjacket, top edge stained maroon. Inscribed by Baldwin on the dedication page: “for Pierce Davis / keep the faith / James Baldwin.” Jacket lightly toned, with small chip to lower right corner of front panel.
Inscribed first edition of James Baldwin’s classic essay on American cinema, a memoir of both his moviegoing and his interior life, starting with his revelation at the age of eight that a white movie star like Bette Davis could have “frog-eyes” like his own. Featured films include The Birth of a Nation, The Defiant Ones, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, Lawrence of Arabia, Lady Sings the Blues, and The Exorcist: “The mindless and hysterical banality of evil presented in The Exorcist is the most terrifying thing about the film. The Americans should certainly know more about evil than that; if they pretend otherwise, they are lying, and any black man, and not only blacks—many, many others, including white children— can call them on this lie, he who has been treated as the devil recognizes the devil when they meet.” A very good copy, scarce inscribed by Baldwin.