Some of These Days proffers a compelling cultural history of the Harlem Renaissance's vast influence abroad, with a dual focus on the world's first two major African American stars: Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson. But Donald's book extends beyond pure dual biography to recreate the rich community of actors, architects, poets, directors, and musicians who interacted with-and were influenced by-each other. James Donald highlights how the sense of excitement and artistic renewal ushered in with the "New Negro Movement"' reverberated far beyond Harlem to cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. Throughout his chronicle, Donald underscores the relationship of African American aesthetics to the modernist movement that flourished from the 1920s until the end of World War II. Vivid portraits of eccentric and popular artists like the T. S. Eliot, HD, Andre Gide, Carl Van Vechten, Marlene Dietrich, Josef von Sternberg, Jean Gabin, and Adolf Loos, among others, animate the sweeping narrative.
Traversing countries and artforms, Some of These Days illustrates the immense cross-cultural collaboration of film, song, dance, and literature that coalesced to create modernist culture-where the new rhythms of the machine age were gleefully embraced, allowing art to consider the new possibilities of cosmopolitanism in a modern world.