Yesterday Will Make You Cry


A classic restored -- the complete and unexpurgated text of the first, most powerful, and most autobiographical novel of this great African-American writer.

In 1937 Chester Himes, newly released from a seven-year stretch in the Ohio State Penitentiary for grand larceny, finished his first novel, Yesterday Will Make You Cry. By turns brutal and lyrical and never less than totally honest, it tells the autobiographical story of young Jimmy Monroe's passage through the prison system, which tests the limits of his sanity, his capacity for suffering, and his definition of love. Stunningly candid about racism, homosexuality, and prison corruption, the book would take sixteen years and four subsequent revisions before being published in much altered form as Cast the First Stone in 1952. Even bowdlerized, it was recognized as a sardonic masterpiece of debasement and transfiguration.

This edition presents for the first time the book precisely as Himes intended it to be read, with its raw honesty andstartling compassion entirely intact. It now stands definitively as one of the great novels of prison life and one of Himes's most enduring literary achievements.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Melvin Van Peebles
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1998


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