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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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5,2551832,038 (4.45)563
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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Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
SO interesting. I knew a bit about the migration of black folks from the South to the North, but wanted to learn more, so I picked this up. I really enjoyed how the author intertwined the general history with the personal stories of the three people she focused on. It really gave me a much better understanding of why certain things are the way they are now. Definitely recommend. ( )
  ledonnelly | Mar 11, 2024 |
A harrowing but engrossing book. The integration of the specific detailed life stories with the dryer census information and statistics provided balance. It was like sitting on the porch with your sweet tea, waiting for the flower to open.satisfyingly human. It was also disturbing, but , again, it helps having first hand stories to ground it all in reality. ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
Wilkerson presents the story of the great migration of Blacks moving from the south country of racial repression and despair thru the eyes of three very different but similar people. A quest for true freedom and equality takes them north, east and west. ( )
  ben_r47 | Feb 22, 2024 |
This book feels well-researched and opens for discussion an important part of our history.

My only criticism?/wishes? for something different are 1) There was a lot of repetition and this long book could have been shortened without losing anything, thereby making it more accessible to more readers who shy away from longer books and 2) (personal preference) I dislike the writing style of constantly shifting from one character to another, and especially here because the locations and time lines were a bit different for each of them.

But those are nits, and, overall, I thought it was an interesting and valuable book to read. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
“Still it made no sense to Pershing that one set of people could be in a cage, and the people outside couldn’t see the bars.”

Isabel Wilkerson's book should be required reading, not just in schools, but as a part of being a well-informed citizenry. An inoculation against the inability to 'see the bars' (or the refusal to see) at a time when there is so much resistance and backlash against those who want an honest look at our history. ( )
  DAGray08 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (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 (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilkerson, Isabelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, KenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, RobinNarratorsecondary 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.
Last words
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Canonical LCC
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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