An Author's Companion in Rage, Exile and Return When writer Eboo Patel felt rejected by America, he took comfort in James Baldwin's essays. He was surprised to find that Baldwin's writing helped him accept the country in a different light.
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An Author's Companion in Rage, Exile and Return

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An Author's Companion in Rage, Exile and Return

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An Author's Companion in Rage, Exile and Return

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Eboo Patel is an American Muslim and the executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core. He's also this week's essayist for our reading series, You Must Read This.

EBOO PATEL: The startling insights in Baldwin's writing helped me see both my own experience and my country's possibilities in a different light. I still have strong opinions, but before I swell up with self-righteous rage, I try to remind myself that writing is about following questions, not pounding home answers. As Baldwin said, it is part of the business of the writer to examine attitudes, to go beneath the surface, to tap the source. During a time in my life when I was reaching for a hammer, James Baldwin showed me what it meant to use a pen.

BLOCK: Eboo Patel is the author of "Acts of Faith" and he's the executive director of the Interfaith Youth Corps. You'll find an excerpt from "The Fire Next Time" along with more recommendations from our series You Must Read This. They're at our Web site. Go to npr.org/summerbooks.

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