The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson

  • Release Date: 2010-09-07
  • Genre: United States
Our rating: 5/5 stars

4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 368 Ratings)
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The Warmth of Other Suns Isabel Wilkerson read book description

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.


The New York Times  • USA Today • O: The Oprah Magazine • Amazon • Publishers Weekly •  Salon • Newsday  • The Daily Beast

The New Yorker •  The Washington Post • The Economist • Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle •  Chicago  
Tribune • Entertainment Weekly • Philadelphia Inquirer • The Guardian • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch  • The Christian Science Monitor 

 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.

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More Reviews

  • The Warmth of Other Suns

    By Blessed 1-2
    This book has been very insightful about the migration that I have experienced & seen in my life.
  • Excellent story of survival

    By Dat man72
    This book is excellently written. It includes the story of four people who moved from the south where living was hard and violence against individuals occurred daily for no reason. To living in the North with its set of life challenges and the consequences of these decisions. It also includes horrifying statistics and and real life stories of those who died at the hand of very evil people. It was an enjoyable read yet very sad. I would recommend it to any who really wants to understand the history of the African American great migration.
  • Wow!! What a Great Read!!

    By janet s
    I never thought I could be so consumed by a piece of non-fiction. I could not put it down!! The 3 characters are amazing and I admire them so!! Should be taught in school. Thank you for teaching me with such delight!!!
  • The Warmth of Other Suns

    By Steve Sees
    Much of it reads like a doctoral thesis. Explains things better expressed by the stories. The stories seem constructed to illustrate her PhD thesis.
  • Life-Changing

    By 5ally6
    I couldn’t put the book down. I learned what little I knew about a very important yet complex part of history.
  • The Warmth of Other Suns

    By TooFunnyToBeReal
    An Incredible written display of history. Now I understand what the Great Migration was all about. Nothing like what my high school history teacher taught. I loved the blending of real people with historical facts. My elder relatives died with their stories and were reluctant to ever share them. I now know they were either too afraid, too tired, or sadly believed that the worst was over and it was better to look forward. Thank you Ms. Wilkerson for sharing the stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
  • Great Book

    By bertajean
    This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This book should be used in history classes. I would like to see this book made into a movie and should be seen by all these young people who take life for granite. I downloaded this book on my iPad, and listen to it audible. Now I want to buy the book just to add to my library. I hope some day to meet this author to have it signed by her. I am going to listen to this book again. I can tell a lot of research was put into this book she did a GREAT job.
  • The Warmth of Other Suns

    By LeoSongJr
    My wife and I listened to the audio book. What a book. One of the persons, Robert Foster, lived a few blocks from where I grew up. It was in the Country Club area. I grew up at Gramercy Place & 11th Street. Another migrant, Philip Ahn, lived at Country Club and Gramercy Place. Her book brought back many memories as well as giving us a better idea of these changes. We liked the interspersing of their life histories as we could keep track of their lives at various points. The history for me was real as I was growing up as the Great Migration was beginning to wind down.
  • Warmth of other suns

    By J Agee
    I can't yet put into words how important that I think this book is to American history and culture. I'm proud of the author and the characters in this book.
  • Warmth of other suns

    By Other suns
    Poignant, powerful depiction of black migration from South to North after World War 1. History with a personal touch.

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