A compact and penetrating study of eight twentieth-century Negro writers, With an introductory survey of the period 1900-1940. Margolies devotes a chapter each to William Attaway, Chester Himes, and William Demby, as well as Wright, Baldwin, and Ellison. Malcolm X and LeRoi Jones are as far as he gets into the burning sixties. The essays are very good. Margolies' central concern is the writer's ""evaluation of his historical and cultural experience in this century""; this concern is meshed with aesthetic criticism. Never over-laudatory or reductive, rarely tendentious, Margolies leaves it to the reader to tie up the manifold themes which emerge, from self-hatred to negritude. The book is a godsend for students and teachers of American literature; one hopes for a sequel devoted to emerging black authors.