Chester B. Himes

  • by Lawrence P. Jackson
  • Narrated by Ruffin Prentiss
  • 19 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The definitive biography of the groundbreaking African-American author who had an extraordinary legacy on black writers globally.
In this biography of Chester B. Himes (1909-1984), Lawrence P. Jackson depicts the improbable life of the controversial writer whose novels confront sexuality, racism, and social injustice. In absorbing detail, Jackson explores Chester Himes's middle-class origins, eight years in prison, painful odyssey as a black World War II-era artist, and escape to Europe, where Himes became internationally famous for his Harlem detective series. Praised by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as "one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition", Himes, author of the best sellers If He Hollers, Let Him Go and Cotton Comes to Harlem, published 20 literary works over a long career, enhanced by friendships with Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, and Carl Van Vechtern. Chester B. Himes relies on exclusive interviews and unrestricted access to Himes's full archives. Jackson restores the legacy of a fascinating maverick determined to etch disturbing portraits of American urban life that remain vivid and contemporary.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Real Cool Writer

Where does Chester B. Himes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Chester B Himes ranks among the most riveting audiobooks I have listened to so far. He trail blazed as an African American who made a living as a writer. His example inspires a new generation of writers. black, white, and of all colors.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Chester B. Himes was my favorite character. he was audacious, brash, and brilliant.


What does Ruffin Prentiss bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

First of all, I would not have gone beyond the back cover if I had attempted to read the book. Ruffin Prentiss made me believe I was hearing Chester Himes.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I wanted to listen to this book all in one sitting but only managed two-and-a-half to five hours a day. It was well worth it.


Any additional comments?

Listen to this biography and then listen to or read any Chester Himes book you can get your hands on. His Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson black detective series are available on Audible while other books are available on Amazon.

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- Andre

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-25-2017
  • Publisher: Recorded Books