James Baldwin was one of America's finest and most influential writers. By the time he died in 1987, his books, such as The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and Giovanni's Room, had become modern classics.
James Campbell knew Baldwin for ten years before Baldwin's death. For this book, he interviewed many of Baldwin's friends and examined several hundred pages of correspondence. He quotes from the vast and disturbing file that the FBI compiled on Baldwin and he discusses Baldwin's sometimes turbulent relationships with Norman Mailer, Richard Wright, and Marlon Brando, as well as his friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. Elegantly written, candid, and original, Talking at the Gates is a comprehensive account of the life and work of a writer who believed that "the unexamined life is not worth living."