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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Isabel Wilkerson

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Penguin
04 August 2020
History; History of the Americas; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; Social & cultural history; Migration, immigration & emigration; Civil rights & citizenship
'A landmark piece of non-fiction' Janet Maslin, The New York Times From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is one of the great untold stories of American history: the migration of black citizens who fled the south and went north in search of a better life From 1915 to 1970, an exodus of almost six million people would change the face of America. With stunning historical detail, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson gives us this definitive, vividly dramatic account of how these journeys unfolded.

Based on interviews with more than a thousand people, and access to new data and official records, The Warmth of Other Suns tells the story of America's Great Migration 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.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country journeys, as well as how they changed their new homes forever.

'You will never forget these people' Gay Talese 'A brilliant and stirring epic' John Stauffer, Wall Street Journal 'The mass migration of African Americans out of the US south forever changed the country's cultural fabric - and Wilkerson's history of this period is full of sacrifice and hope ... a long overdue account' Lettecha Johnson, Guardian 'A deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book. . . .

Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century and told it through the lives of three people ... lyrical and tragic' Jill Lepore, New Yorker
By:   Isabel Wilkerson
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   436g
ISBN:   9780141995151
ISBN 10:   0141995157
Pages:   640
Publication Date:   04 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Warmth of Other Suns. Her debut work won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was named to Time's 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the decade and The New York Times's list of the Best Nonfiction of All Time. Her second book, Caste, is a bold and original analysis of societal inequality. Wilkerson has taught at Princeton, Emory, and Boston Universities and has lectured at more than two hundred other colleges and universities across the United States and in Europe and Asia.

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

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. * San Francisco Examiner * A deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book. . . .Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century and told it through the lives of three people ... lyrical and tragic -- Jill Lepore * New Yorker * The mass migration of African Americans out of the US south forever changed the country's cultural fabric - and Wilkerson's history of this period is full of sacrifice and hope ...a long overdue account * Guardian * A briliant and stirring epic * Wall Street Journal * A landmark piece of non-fiction * The New York Times * Isabel Wilkerson's book is a masterful narrative of the rich wisdom and deep courage of a great people. Don't miss it! -- Cornel West Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns is an American masterpiece, a stupendous literary success that channels the social sciences as iconic biography in order to tell a vast story of a people's reinvention of itself and of a nation-the first complete history of the Great Black Migration from start to finish, north, east, west. -- David Levering Lewis With compelling prose and considered analysis, Isabel Wilkerson has given us a landmark portrait of one of the most significant yet little-noted shifts in American history: the migration of African-Americans from the Jim Crow South to the cities of the North and West. It is a complicated tale, with an infinity of implications for questions of race, power, politics, religion, and class-implications that are unfolding even now. This book will be long remembered, and savored. -- Jon Meacham The Warmth of Other Suns is a sweeping and yet deeply personal tale of America's hidden 20th century history - the long and difficult trek of Southern blacks to the northern and western cities. This is an epic for all Americans who want to understand the making of our modern nation. -- Tom Brokaw 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. * The San Francisco Examiner * [A] magnificent, extensively researched study of the great migration...The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done. -- Publishers Weekly * Starred Review * A truly auspicious debut...The author deftly intersperses [her characters'] stories with short vignettes about other individuals and consistently provides the bigger picture without interrupting the flow of the narrative...Wilkerson's focus on the personal aspect lends her book a markedly different, more accessible tone. Her powerful storytelling style, as well, gives this decades-spanning history a welcome novelistic flavor. An impressive take on the Great Migration. -- Kirkus * Starred Review * The Warmth of Other Suns is a beautifully written book that, once begun, is nearly impossible to put aside. It is an unforgettable combination of tragedy and inspiration, and gripping subject matter and characters in a writing style that grabs the reader on Page 1 and never let's go.... Woven into the tapestry of [three individuals] lives, in prose that is sweet to savor, Wilkerson tells the larger story, the general situation of life in the South for blacks...If you read one only one book about history this year, read this. If you read only one book about African Americans this year, read this. If you read only one book this year, read this. * The Free Lance Star, Fredericksburg, Va. * The Warmth of Other Suns is a beautifully written, in-depth analysis of what Wilkerson calls 'one of the most underreported stories of the 20th century'...A masterpiece that sheds light on a significant development in our nation's history. * The San Jose Mercury News * [A] sweeping history of the Great Migration... The Warmth of Other Suns builds upon such purely academic works to make the migrant experience both accessible and emotionally. * NPR.org * Isabel Wilkerson's majestic The Warmth of Other Suns shows that not everyone bloomed, but the migrants-Wilkerson prefers to think of them as domestic immigrants-remade the entire country, North and South. It's a monumental job of writing and reporting that lives up to its subtitle: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. * USA Today * An astonishing work...Isabel Wilkerson delivers!... With the precision of a surgeon, Wilkerson illuminates the stories of bold, faceless African-Americans who transformed cities and industries with their hard work and determination to provide their children with better lives. * Essence * [An] indelible and compulsively readable portrait of race, class, and politics in 20th-century America. History is rarely distilled so finely. Grade: A * Entertainment Weekly * Mesmerizing... * Chicago Tribune * [An] extraordinary and evocative work. * The Washington Post * [A] deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book...Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century-a phenomenon whose dimensions and significance have eluded many a scholar-and told it through the lives of three people no one has ever heard of...This is narrative nonfiction, lyrical and tragic and fatalist. The story exposes; the story moves; the story ends. What Wilkerson urges, finally, isn't argument at all; it's compassion. Hush, and listen. -- Jill Lepore * The New Yorker * 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 -- John Stauffer * Wall Street Journal * A landmark piece of nonfiction...sure to hold many surprises for readers of any race or experience...A mesmerizing book that warrants comparison to The Promised Land, Nicholas Lemann's study of the Great Migration's early phase, and Common Ground, J. Anthony Lukas's great, close-range look at racial strife in Boston...[Wilkerson's] closeness with, and profound affection for, her subjects reflect her deep immersion in their stories and allow the reader to share that connection. -- Janet Maslin * The New York Times * A seminal work of narrative nonfiction. . . . You will never forget these people. -- Gay Talese One of the most lyrical and important books of the season -- David Shribman * Boston Globe * [A] sweeping history of the Great Migration... The Warmth of Other Suns builds upon such purely academic works to make the migrant experience both accessible and emotionally compelling. -- NPR.org 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. -- The San Francisco Examiner Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns is an American masterpiece, a stupendous literary success that channels the social sciences as iconic biography in order to tell a vast story of a people's reinvention of itself and of a nation--the first complete history of the Great Black Migration from start to finish, north, east, west. -- David Levering Lewis Profound, necessary and an absolute delight to read. -- Toni Morrison Scholarly but very readable, this book, for all its rigor, is so absorbing, it should come with a caveat: Pick it up only when you can lose yourself entirely. * O, The Oprah Magazine * Told in a voice that echoes the magic cadences of Toni Morrison or the folk wisdom of Zora Neale Hurston's collected oral histories, Wilkerson's book pulls not just the expanse of the migration into focus but its overall impact on politics, literature, music, sports -- in the nation and the world. -- Lynell George * Los Angeles Times * A narrative epic rigorous enough to impress all but the crankiest of scholars, yet so immensely readable as to land the author a future place on Oprah's couch. -- David Oshinsky, The New York Times Book Review


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