The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson

Title: The Warmth of Other Suns
Author: Isabel Wilkerson
Pages: 640
Published: 2010
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

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. 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.

 I really, really loved it.   I first heard about the book when I was listening to a podcast of the New York Times Book Review a few months ago when the author gave a short interview about the book and really wanted to read the book afterwards.  In otherwords, I was intrigued with the concept of the book and really like it.  I wasn't disappointed with the book and really liked the stories of the three principles that she wrote about.  I almost felt like I wanted to go to these people to hear their stories about life in the South before they left for their Northern and Western cities.  They almost became like family to me, hearing about how they got to their certain points in the United States and how they met with the challenges that confronted them.  I highly recommend the book.

640 / 15000 pages. 4% done!


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