The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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One of The New York Times Book Review 's 10 Best Books of the Year

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. 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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2010], ©2010
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780679444329
0679444327
0679604073
9780679604075
Branch Call Number: 304.80973 Wi
Characteristics: x, 622 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

An award-winning look at the Great Migration, when some six million black southerners relocated themselves, their labor, and their lives, to the North.


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CircMary Sep 30, 2017

Don't let the length of this book put you off. The author makes history personal with her masterful weaving of the stories of three separate lives that were forever changed by their participation in the Great Migration. Her interviews of over 1,000 people flesh out the full view of the movement which shaped our country between WW 1 and the 1970s as southern African-Americans set out for the north and west searching for safety, freedom, and a place they could call "home". Their successes and failures are eye-opening reading.

o
OwlLibrarian
Sep 13, 2017

Isabel Wilkerson masterfully crafted this non-fiction book to tell the story of many African Americans fleeing threats of the South. In this book, the reader is taken on a journey through the eyes of Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling, and Robert Foster as they all head North for different reasons. Sprinkled throughout the book, Isabel shares information about others' struggles while migrating North during this time. The Warmth of Other Suns is a magnificent book to read about the Great Migration during a dark time, in the United States

ChelseaJM Apr 02, 2016

Immaculately researched, well-written, moving stories of triumph and despair. Whether or not you're interested in American history or civil rights, I can't recommend this highly enough; it's one of the finest books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

m
MsAlexis
Jan 07, 2016

I just recently finished this book and it was truly a wonderful novel the novel gives excellent insight about The history of The Great Migration and three powerful stories from three individuals Ida Mae Gladney, Robert Pershing Foster and George Swanson and their unique journeys from the south to the north I highly recommend this book if you are a lover of history and literature and this is a great read for teachers to assign to their students.

r
rusty_13
Jan 05, 2016

This was a great book concerning the history of the African American migration from the South to the North. What made it so compelling - and memorable - was the inclusion of the personal story of an individual from each decade.

b
betty1254
Dec 16, 2015

Excellent history made compelling by personal stories.

s
sjschuette
Sep 24, 2015

Great in presenting both the bigger historical picture of social and political movements, and the personal experience of a small group of individuals. Great narrative style.

b
bebe58
Aug 11, 2015

Excellent reading. A few sections in the book tends to repeat a few statements.

r
RocketJH
Jul 05, 2015

Was well written and the narrative parts were fascinating. If a fan of culture and history of the USA, I'd say you need to give this book a look.

My only complaint would be that several of the points were made over and over as if the author expected readers to lose sight of the main themes of the book. I found the repetition to be too much on occasion and had to force myself to keep reading in case I missed something that was as yet undiscovered or unaddressed. That I didn't want to miss something is a good sign for the book.
One of the best parts was the ending focus on how the nation could/should move on from now. Inspiring in that the country doesn't have to stay in the aftermath of events, but can move forward.

4 out of 5 stars for a well written book though at times unnecessarily repetitive.

p
prtzlwmstrd
Jun 17, 2015

Compelling narrative nonfiction. Chronicles migration of African Americans to North from 1915 -1970's. Eye-opening stories. Upsets long-held myths about African-Americans' success in society. Highly recommended.

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