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The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson

  • Release Date: 2010-09-07
  • Genre: United States
Score: 4.5
From 1,296 Ratings


NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize–winnner and bestselling author of Caste 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.

“Profound, necessary and an absolute delight to read.” —Toni Morrison

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.


  • Worth every second spent

    By Brighteyez4
    The book makes me wish I had asked my four grandparents why they had fled the South (three have passed away now). I’ve learned a lot, and pondered much about my family’s experiences in the Deep South before fleeing to New York City.
  • Extraordinary!

    By SirGregOfMays
    Nothing short of extraordinary!
  • Eye opening

    By Anom0831
    This book helped bridge the gap for me between the struggle that I knew existed/exists for Black Americans and immersing myself into the stories and experiences of so many depicted in this book. I can no longer look away.
  • A must read!

    By Anonymous rightchea
    This should be in history curriculums.
  • Blown Away

    By JVocal1998
    The Warmth of Other Suns is, perhaps, one of the best books that I have ever read. It contextualizes The Great Migration by providing specific details of 3 different people, living in different parts of the Jim Crow South, making the decision to leave that life in 3 different decades. This book made me reflect on the inevitable push and pull factors that influenced my ancestors decisions to either stay or leave. It left me wondering how the impact of those negotiations sit with the descendants who are left to wonder how their lives might have turned out if their forbears made a different decision. This was a rich and enduring masterpiece that forced me to experience a broad range of emotions whether I wanted to experience them or not. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed and cried so much from reading a book. More to the point, it made me think more critically about how decisions can influence outcomes. A brilliant work of art!
  • Loved ❤️❤️❤️

    By SCUser206
    Amazing book. Tearful at times. I’ve purchased a hard copy for my 89 year old father, who is a son of The Great Migration.
  • Good but needed better editing

    By Seattle Viking
    Great book but it could’ve been better with better editing. I learned a lot from this book. However, there was a lot of information that was repeated.
  • Adrian

    By Purple domo
    Excellent Read! Very insightful 1st person accounts!!
  • Required reading

    By gulysses3
    Everyone needs to read this book. We’ve all known, at least I hope we do, the history of slavery and the still, all too common brutality of racists. However, to understand what it took to actually leave, to start fresh in what were akin to foreign territories hammers home how I’ve taken my easy, stable, simple and most definitely privileged status in life for granted.
  • ظبييي

    By صثظصظثططططيططيثثظيثثيبصثطضقصص