In Nobody Knows My Name, Baldwin continued his searing review of race relationships in America and in Europe, where he lived in exile for some years. He also continued, characteristically, to focus a penetrating light into own feelings and experience, making his work both an analysis of American society and one man's honest attempt to bear witness of the experience of being an American, of being himself.
"A European writer considers himself to be part of an old and honorable tradition--of intellectual activity, of letters--and his choice of a vocation does not cause him any uneasy wonder as to whether or not it will cost him all his friends. But this tradition does not exist in America.
"On the contrary, [Americans] have a very deep-seated distrust of real intellecutal effort (probably because we suspect that it will destroy, as I hope it does, that myth of America to which we cling so desperately)."