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.
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER
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.
MARK LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE WINNER
HEARTLAND AWARD WINNER
DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE FINALIST
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
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Is tfti duty d s t.35
Can’t say enough about his book! I loved it!55
My heart has been touched. Wow.55
This book has been very insightful about the migration that I have experienced & seen in my life.55
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.55
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!!!55
Much of it reads like a doctoral thesis. Explains things better expressed by the stories. The stories seem constructed to illustrate her PhD thesis.15
I couldn’t put the book down. I learned what little I knew about a very important yet complex part of history.55
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.55