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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of…

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

by Isabel Wilkerson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,9081243,244 (4.44)416
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.… (more)

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» See also 416 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
Isabel Wilkerson has written a tour de force book about the Great Migration that brought almost six million Southern African Americans to the north and California from 1915 to 1970. Wilkinson brings this story to life by illustrating the migration through thr lives of three individuals: Ida Mae Gladney who left her sharecropping life in Mississippi for Chicago,; George Starling who after trying to organize fruit pickers in Florida fled to New York City one step in front of a lynch mob; and Robert Foster who left the sstifling black middle class in small town Louisiana for the bright lights of Los Angeles.

What these people had to endure in the South should make any decent person feel ashamed a what was tolerated in this country - not only legal apartheid, but the use of rape and murder as a method of keeping the black population under control. And, unfortunately, once in the North, life was not automatically better. Prejudice was still everywhere, and the migrants found themselves usually limited to the lowest jobs that no one else wanted, and housing in the poorest areas of town.

How they succeeded - even at modest, and sometimes spectacular , levels of success makes for an inspiring story. Highly recommended. ( )
  etxgardener | May 11, 2020 |
So, after visiting the graves of his mother and father and his big brother Madison, Robert decided to walk into a diner that used to be only for white people. It was a place he could only have dreamed of entering as a young man. He sat down without incident, ordered and ate, and nobody commented on it one way or the other. It was nothing special and, in fact, underwhelming after all those years of being denied entrance and dreaming of being inside. ( )
  aditkumar | Mar 22, 2020 |
Great book overall. Moving stories about a significant, important and under represented topic in this country. It really humanizes the experience, racism, conditions and journeys that people experienced in the south and during the great migration.

The book was wayyy long though. Would have preferred a version about half as detailed. Some of the writing was pretty mediocre, but mostly alright. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
On the front cover of the copy of this book that I read, there is a blurb by recently deceased Nobel Prize winning writer, Toni Morrison: "Profound, necessary, and an absolute delight to read." That! That is the book in its essence. That is all a serious reader really needs to know to justify getting a copy and reading it. I loved this book. My wife, who prefers fiction loved it. Despite it being non-fiction, it reads like the best of epic novels. I imagined a three-part saga on American settlers, traveling across the country, perhaps, to wheat farm in Minnesota, raise sheep in Montana, and log in Oregon? But, in this case, it is probably more like various Native American tribes fleeing their western state genocides and moving to the east coast. So there is that aspect to it. But, as Morrison said, it's necessary, for it pulls together so many aspects of the struggles black Americans have faced through the years. The reader gets the full meal deal with this one. Okay, in the end, in the very epilogue, the author goes full blown stereotypical non-fiction writer on the reader, but you fiction fanatics can at least manage that to see what great non-fiction is all about. ( )
  larryerick | Jan 24, 2020 |
I cannot remember another book from which I learned so much, while feeling so deeply. I'm an old white woman, and I thought I knew a great deal about American history, including the history of Afro-Americans. But I had no idea of the scope of the Great Migration. Combining "hard" history (brilliantly researched) with the stories of individual people is a brilliant approach to the subject. Ms. Wilkerson writes beautifully, and -- while she makes perfectly clear the obstacles that black people faced -- she does not polemicize. A beautiful and important book. ( )
  annbury | Jan 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
I give this book two enthusiastic thumbs up: you’ll not only learn a lot about this underappreciated part of recent America history (I see its remnants about me every day in Chicago, since I live on the South Side, perhaps the most famous destination of the Migration), but also become deeply involved in the lives of Ida Mae, George, and Robert. The ending is poignant and bittersweet, and will make you both proud of the migrants and sad about their fate. The writing is quite good (Wilkerson won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism—the first black woman to do so—for her work at The New York Times), and the scholarship, though thorough, is worn lightly. (The book was 15 years in the making and Wilkerson interviewed over 1200 people.) If there’s one flaw—and it’s a small one—the writing is occasionally awkward and more than occasionally repetitious, with the same facts repeated in different places. But that’s a trifle that should by no means put you off.
Wilkerson intersperses historical detail of the broader movement and the sparks that set off the civil rights era; challenging racial restrictions in the North and South; and the changing dynamics of race, class, geography, politics, and economics. A sweeping and stunning look at a watershed event in U.S. history.
added by sduff222 | editBooklist, Vanessa Bush (Sep 15, 2010)
Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, uses the journeys of three of them-a Mississippi sharecropper, a Louisiana doctor, and a Florida laborer--to etch an indelible and compulsively readable portrait of race, class, and politics in 20th-century America. History is rarely distilled so finely.
added by ArrowStead | editEntertainment Weekly, Tina Jordan (Sep 10, 2010)
Not since Alex Haley's Roots has there been a history of equal literary quality where the writing surmounts the rhythmic soul of fiction, where the writer's voice sings a song of redemptive glory as true as Faulkner's southern cantatas.
added by ArrowStead | editSan Francisco Examiner
The Warmth of Other Suns is a brilliant and stirring epic, the first book to cover the full half century of the Great Migration....Wilkerson combines impressive research...with great narrative and literary power. Ms. Wilkerson does for the Great Migration what John Steinbeck did for the Okies in his fiction masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath; she humanizes history, giving it emotional and psychological depth.
added by ArrowStead | editThe Wall Street Journal

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Wilkersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, KenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, RobinReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was leaving the South
To fling myself into the unknown. . . .
I was taking a part of the South
To transplant in alien soil,
To see if it could grow differently.
If it could drink of new and cool rains,
Bend in strange winds,
Respond to the warmth of other suns
And, perhaps, to bloom.

- Richard Wright
To my mother and
to the memory of my father,
whose migration made me possible,
and to the millions of others like them
who dared to act upon their dreams.
First words
The night clouds were closing in on the salt licks east of the oxbow lakes along the folds in the earth beyond the Yalobusha River.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.
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