James Baldwin Books in Order

The James Baldwin books have become so popular over the years that generation after generation, people keep going back to them.

If you're just starting with it and want a reading list, you're in luck. Here we list out all the James Baldwin books in order; keeping in mind various factors like the publication year, reviews, its popularity among readers, etc.

It’s always a good idea to read such book titles in sequence so that you don't miss out on the story plot and its discussions in the book clubs.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Baldwin, James 1952

In one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin tells the story of the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935.

 Originally published in 1953, Baldwin said of his first novel, "Mountain is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." “With vivid imagery, with lavish attention to details ... [a] feverish story.” —The New York Times

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Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin 1956

James Baldwin’s groundbreaking novel about love and the fear of love is set among the bohemian bars and nightclubs of 1950s Paris.In the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality.

With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart."A book that belongs in the top rank of fiction.

” —The Atlantic

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The Fire Next Time

Baldwin, James 1963

An official Oprah Winfrey’s “The Books That Help Me Through” selectionA national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation, gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement—and still lights the way to understanding race in America today.

  "Basically the finest essay I’ve ever read. . . . Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He was both direct and beautiful all at once. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain.

It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle.

..all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.

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Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone

Baldwin, James 1968

A major work of American literature that powerfully portrays the anguish of being Black in a society that at times seems poised on the brink of total racial war. At the height of his theatrical career, the actor Leo Proudhammer is nearly felled by a heart attack.

As he hovers between life and death, Baldwin shows the choices that have made him enviably famous and terrifyingly vulnerable.For between Leo's childhood on the streets of Harlem and his arrival into the intoxicating world of the theater lies a wilderness of desire and loss, shame and rage.

An adored older brother vanishes into prison. There are love affairs with a white woman and a younger black man, each of whom will make irresistible claims on Leo's loyalty. Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone is overpowering in its vitality and extravagant in the intensity of its feeling.

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If Beale Street Could Talk

Baldwin, James 1974

In this honest and stunning novel that inspired the award-winning major motion picture of the same name, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. "A major work of Black American fiction." –The New RepublicTold through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad.

Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope.

In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.

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Little Man, Little Man

Baldwin, Faith 1976
A poignant portrayal of the daily lives and the coming of age of two black boys in Harlem Read More

Just Above My Head

Baldwin, James 1978

James Baldwin’s final novel is “the work of a born storyteller at the height of his powers” (The New York Times Book Review). “Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be abdicated. If one refuses abdication, one begins again.

” The stark grief of a brother mourning a brother opens this stunning, unforgettable novel. Here, in a monumental saga of love and rage, James Baldwin goes back to Harlem, to the church of his groundbreaking novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, to the forbidden passion of Giovanni’s Room, and to the political fire that enflames his nonfiction work.

Here, too, the story of gospel singer Arthur Hall and his family becomes both a journey into another country of the soul and senses—and a living contemporary history of black struggle in this land.

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Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Sonny's Blues

James Baldwin 1957
Impassioned tales of human experience that reach the soul. Read More

Going to Meet the Man

Baldwin, James 1965

"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water.

It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob.

By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying--and informed throughout by Baldwin's uncanny knowledge of the wounds racism has left in both its victims and its perpetrators--Going to Meet the Man is a major work by one of our most important writers.

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Jimmy's Blues

Baldwin, James 1968

All of the published poetry of James Baldwin, including six significant poems previously only available in a limited edition  During his lifetime (1924–1987), James Baldwin authored seven novels, as well as several plays and essay collections, which were published to wide-spread praise.

These books, among them Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, Giovanni’s Room, and Go Tell It on the Mountain, brought him well-deserved acclaim as a public intellectual and admiration as a writer. However, Baldwin’s earliest writing was in poetic form, and Baldwin considered himself a poet throughout his lifetime.

Nonetheless, his single book of poetry, Jimmy’s Blues, never achieved the popularity of his novels and nonfiction, and is the one and only book to fall out of print. This new collection presents James Baldwin the poet, including all nineteen poems from Jimmy’s Blues, as well as all the poems from a limited-edition volume called Gypsy, of which only 325 copies were ever printed and which was in production at the time of his death.

Known for his relentless honesty and startlingly prophetic insights on issues of race, gender, class, and poverty, Baldwin is just as enlightening and bold in his poetry as in his famous novels and essays. The poems range from the extended dramatic narratives of “Staggerlee wonders” and “Gypsy” to the lyrical beauty of “Some days,” which has been set to music and interpreted by such acclaimed artists as Audra McDonald.

Nikky Finney’s introductory essay reveals the importance, relevance, and rich rewards of these little-known works. Baldwin’s many devotees will find much to celebrate in these pages.

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James Baldwin: Early Novels & Stories

James Baldwin 1998

Here, in a Library of America volume edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, is the fiction that established James Baldwin's reputation as a writer who fused unblinking realism and rare verbal eloquence. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), tells the story, rooted in Baldwin's own experience, of a preacher's son coming of age in 1930's Harlem.

Ten years in the writing, its exploration of religious, sexual, and generational conflicts was described by Baldwin as "an attempt to exorcise something, to find out what happened to my father, what happened to all of us." Giovanni's Room (1956) is a searching, and in its day controversial, treatment of the tragic self-delusions of a young American expatriate at war with his own homosexuality.

Another Country (1962), a wide-ranging exploration of America's racial and sexual boundaries, depicts the suicide of a gifted jazz musician and its ripple effect on those who knew him. Complex in structure and turbulent in mood, it is in many ways Baldwin's most ambitious novel.

Going to Meet the Man (1965) collects Baldwin's short fiction, including the masterful "Sonny's Blues," the unforgettable portrait of a jazz musician struggling with drug addiction in which Baldwin came closest to defining his goal as a writer: "For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it must be heard.

There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness."LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing.

The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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Fifty Famous People

Baldwin, James 2003

James Baldwin was an American educator and administrator. After his career as an educator he began writing on such topics as legends, mythology, biography, and literature. Fifty Famous People is comprised of short stories about people, some more famous than others.

The stories cannot be strictly called biographical but there is truth in each of them. Each person has had a lasting influence and an ethical lesson can be found in each story. Baldwin also wrote Fifty Famous Stories Retold.

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Vintage Baldwin

Baldwin, James 2004

In his internationally acclaimed novels, short stories, plays and essays, James Baldwin was and remains a powerfully prophetic voice in the American literary landscape, fearlessly brooding upon issues such as race, sex, politics, and art. His literary achievement is a lasting legacy about what it means to be American.

Vintage Baldwin includes the short story “Sonny’s Blues”; the galvanizing civil rights examination “My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation”; the essays “Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter from Harlem,” “The Discovery of What It Means to Be an American,” and “Nobody Knows My Name: A Letter from the South”; and excerpts from the novel Another Country and the play The Amen Corner.

Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the great modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions.

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Publication Order of Plays

The Amen Corner

Baldwin, James 1954

Comic Drama Characters: 4 male, 10 female Compelete interior Self-anointed Harlem store front preacher Margaret Alexander is the leader of her flock and about to see her world crumble. Son David her church organist, is set on following in the footsteps of his father, jazz musician Luke.

When the errant husband and father comes home to die, Sister Margaret finds herself losing everything but coming to terms with her own true sense of faith. From the author of Blues for Mr.

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Blues for Mister Charlie

Baldwin, James 1961

In a small Southern town, a white man murders a black man, then throws his body in the weeds. With this act of violence--which is loosely based on the notorious 1955 killing of Emmett Till--James Baldwin launches an unsparing and at times agonizing probe of the wounds of race.

For where once a white storekeeper could have shot a "boy" like Richard Henry with impunity, times have changed. And centuries of brutality and fear, patronage and contempt, are about to erupt in a moment of truth as devastating as a shotgun blast.In his award-winning play, Baldwin turns a murder and its aftermath into an inquest in which even the most well-intentioned whites are implicated--and in which even a killer receives his share of compassion.

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One Day When I Was Lost

Baldwin, James 1969

A rare, lucidly composed screenplay from one of America’s greatest writers, based on the bestselling classic The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The Times Literary Supplement praises "the depth and sincerity of Baldwin's admiration for Malcolm X."Son of a Baptist minister; New York City hustler; honor student; convicted criminal; powerful minister in the Nation of Islam; father and husband: Malcolm X transformed himself, time and again, in order to become one of the most feared, loved, and undeniably charismatic leaders of twentieth-century America.

No one better represents the tumultuous times of his generation, and there is no one better to capture him and his milieu than James Baldwin. With spare, elegant, yet forceful dialogue and fresh, precise camera directions, Baldwin breathes cinematic life into this controversial and important figure, offering a new look at a man who changed himself in order to change the country.

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Notes of a Native Son

Baldwin, James 1955

#26 on The Guardian's list of 100 best nonfiction books of all time, the essays explore what it means to be Black in AmericaIn an age of Black Lives Matter, James Baldwin's essays on life in Harlem, the protest novel, movies, and African Americans abroad are as powerful today as when they were first written.

With films like I Am Not Your Negro and the forthcoming If Beale Street Could Talk bringing renewed interest to Baldwin's life and work, Notes of a Native Son serves as a valuable introduction.Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowly gained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists and foremost intellectuals of that era.

Writing as an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With a keen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, from his home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.

” Notes of a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of the leading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the United States in the twentieth century, and many of his observations have proven almost prophetic. His criticism on topics such as the paternalism of white progressives or on his own friend Richard Wright’s work is pointed and unabashed.

He was also one of the few writing on race at the time who addressed the issue with a powerful mixture of outrage at the gross physical and political violence against black citizens and measured understanding of their oppressors, which helped awaken a white audience to the injustices under their noses.

Naturally, this combination of brazen criticism and unconventional empathy for white readers won Baldwin as much condemnation as praise. Notes is the book that established Baldwin’s voice as a social critic, and it remains one of his most admired works.

The essays collected here create a cohesive sketch of black America and reveal an intimate portrait of Baldwin’s own search for identity as an artist, as a black man, and as an American.

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Nobody Knows My Name

James Baldwin 1961

Told with Baldwin's characteristically unflinching honesty, this collection of illuminating, deeply felt essays -- "passionate, probing, controversial" (The Atlantic) -- examines topics ranging from race relations in the United States to the role of the writer in society, and offers personal accounts of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and other writers.

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Harlem, U.S.A.

Baldwin, James, etc. 1971

A Rap on Race

Baldwin, James 1971
A black writer's emotional response to American racism is juxtaposed with the logical analyses of a social scientist Read More

No Name in the Street

Baldwin, James 1972

An extraordinary history of the turbulent sixties and early seventies that displays James Baldwin's fury and despair more deeply than any of his other works, and powerfully speaks to contemporary conversations around racism."It contains truth that cannot be denied.

” — The Atlantic MonthlyIn this stunningly personal document, James Baldwin remembers in vivid details the Harlem childhood that shaped his early conciousness and the later events that scored his heart with pain—the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, his sojourns in Europe and in Hollywood, and his retum to the American South to confront a violent America face-to-face.

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A Dialogue

Baldwin, James 1973

The Devil Finds Work

Baldwin, James 1976

"Probing perhaps more deeply than ever before into American racial practices." —The NationBaldwin’s personal reflections on movies gathered here in a book-length essay are also an appraisal of American racial politics. Offering an incisive look at racism in American movies and a vision of America’s self-delusions and deceptions, Baldwin challenges the underlying assumptions in such films as In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and The Exorcist.

Here are our loves and hates, biases and cruelties, fears and ignorance reflected by the films that have entertained us and shaped our consciousness. And here too is the stunning prose of a writer whose passion never diminished his struggle for equality, justice, and social change.

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The Price of the Ticket

Baldwin, James 1985

The works of James Baldwin constitute one of the major contributions to American literature in the twentieth century, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Price of the Ticket, a compendium of nearly fifty years of Baldwin's powerful nonfiction writing.

With truth and insight, these personal, prophetic works speak to the heart of the experience of race and identity in the United States. Here are the full texts of Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, and The Devil Finds Work, along with dozens of other pieces, ranging from a 1948 review of Raintree Country to a magnificent introduction to this book that, as so many of Mr.

Baldwin's works do, combines his intensely private experience with the deepest examination of social interaction between the races. In a way, The Price of the Ticket is an intellectual history of the twentieth-century American experience; in another, it is autobiography of the highest order.

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The Evidence of Things Not Seen

Baldwin, James 1985

One of America's most important writers takes on the arrest of Wayne Bertram Williams for the murder of twenty-eight black children in Atlanta to offer this searing indictment of the nation's racial stagnation. This edition of James Baldwin's classic work offers a new foreword by Derrick Bell (with Janet Dewart Bell), and is as meaningful today as it was when it was first published in 1985.

In his searing and moving essay, James Baldwin explores the Atlanta child murders that took place over a period of twenty-two months in 1979 and 1980. Examining this incident with a reporter's skill and an essayist's insight, he notes the significance of Atlanta as the site of these brutal killings―a city that claimed to be "too busy to hate"―and the permeation of race throughout the case: the black administration in Atlanta; the murdered black children; and Wayne Williams, the black man tried for the crimes.

Rummaging through the ruins of American race relations, Baldwin addresses all the hard-to-face issues that have brought us a moment in history where it is terrifying to to be a black child in white America, and where, too often, public officials fail to ask real questions about "justice for all.

" Baldwin takes a time-specific event and makes it timeless: The Evidence of Things Not Seen offers an incisive look at race in America through a lens at once disturbing and profoundly revealing.

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Baldwin: Collected Essays

James Baldwin 1998

James Baldwin was a uniquely prophetic voice in American letters. His brilliant and provocative essays made him the literary voice of the Civil Rights Era, and they continue to speak with powerful urgency to us today, whether in the swirling debate over the Black Lives Matter movement or in the words of Raoul Peck's documentary "I Am Not Your Negro.

" Edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the Library of America's Collected Essays is the most comprehensive gathering of Baldwin's nonfiction ever published.With burning passion and jabbing, epigrammatic wit, Baldwin fearlessly articulated issues of race and democracy and American identity in such famous essays as "The Harlem Ghetto," "Everybody's Protest Novel," "Many Thousands Gone," and "Stranger in the Village.

" Here are the complete texts of his early landmark collections, Notes of a Native Son (1955) and Nobody Knows My Name (1961), which established him as an essential intellectual voice of his time, fusing in unique fashion the personal, the literary, and the political.

"One writes," he stated, "out of one thing only—one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give." With singular eloquence and unblinking sharpness of observation he lived up to his credo: "I want to be an honest man and a good writer.

"The classic The Fire Next Time (1963), perhaps the most influential of his writings, is his most penetrating analysis of America's racial divide and an impassioned call to "end the racial nightmare...and change the history of the world." The later volumes No Name in the Street (1972) and The Devil Finds Work (1976) chart his continuing response to the social and political turbulence of his era and include his remarkable works of film criticism.

A further 36 essays—nine of them previously uncollected—include some of Baldwin's earliest published writings, as well as revealing later insights into the language of Shakespeare, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the music of Earl Hines.LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing.

The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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Native Sons

Baldwin, James 2004

James Baldwin was beginning to be recognized as the most brilliant black writer of his generation when his first book of essays, Notes of a Native Son, established his reputation in 1955. No one was more pleased by the book’s reception than Baldwin’s high school friend Sol Stein.

A rising New York editor, novelist, and playwright, Stein had suggested that Baldwin do the book and coaxed his old friend through the long and sometimes agonizing process of putting the volume together and seeing it into print. Now, in this fascinating new book, Sol Stein documents the story of his intense creative partnership with Baldwin through newly uncovered letters, photos, inscriptions, and an illuminating memoir of the friendship that resulted in one of the classics of American literature.

Included in this book are the two works they created together–the story “Dark Runner” and the play Equal in Paris, both published here for the first time. Though a world of difference separated them–Baldwin was black and gay, living in self-imposed exile in Europe; Stein was Jewish and married, with a growing family to support–the two men shared the same fundamental passion.

Nothing mattered more to either of them than telling and writing the truth, which was not always welcome. As Stein wrote Baldwin in a long, heartfelt letter, “You are the only friend with whom I feel comfortable about all three: heart, head, and writing.

” In this extraordinary book, Stein unfolds how that shared passion played out in the months surrounding the creation and publication of Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, in which Baldwin’s main themes are illuminated.A literary event published to honor the eightieth anniversary of James Baldwin’s birth, Native Sons is a celebration of one of the most fruitful and influential friendships in American letters.

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The Cross of Redemption

Baldwin, James 2011

"Baldwin on race is Baldwin on the white American psyche.... The Cross of Redemption becomes an absorbing portrait of Baldwin’s time—and of him."  —New York Review of BooksA revelation by an American literary master: a gathering of essays, articles, polemics, reviews, and interviews that have never before appeared in book form.

 James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the past century, renowned for his fierce engagement with issues haunting our common history. In The Cross of Redemption we have Baldwin discoursing on, among other subjects, the possibility of an African-American president and what it might mean; the hypocrisy of American religious fundamentalism; the black church in America; the trials and tribulations of black nationalism; anti-Semitism; the blues and boxing; Russian literary masters; and the role of the writer in our society.

 Prophetic and bracing, The Cross of Redemption is a welcome and important addition to the works of a cosmopolitan and canonical American writer who still has much to teach us about race, democracy, and personal and national identity. As Michael Ondaatje has remarked, “If van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, Baldwin [was] our twentieth-century one.

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And that's the end of the complete list! Now that you have it - the next step for you is to of course purchase them and dive into reading James Baldwin books. Worry not, we've done the tedious job for you and added amazon direct book links including AudioBook, Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover versions as applicable.

Happy reading!


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