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2 Beaverton African American Studies- General

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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780679444329
ISBN10: 0679444327
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

2010 National Book Critic's Circle Award for Nonfiction

Staff Pick

The Warmth of Other Suns is a fascinating epic narrative of the Great Migration by the brilliant and beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson.
Recommended by Adrienne, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a 'necktie party' (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by 'the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town.' Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize — winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the 'great migration,' the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an 'uncertain existence' in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. 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. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"[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

Review:

"The Warmth of Other Suns is epic in its reach and in its structure. 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

Synopsis:

With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells the story of the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, from 1915 to 1970, through the lives of three unique individuals.

About the Author

Isabel Wilkerson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing as Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. The first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African American to win for individual reporting, she has also won the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She has lectured on narrative at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University and has served as Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and as the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University. She is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University. During the Great Migration, her parents journeyed from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington, D.C., where she was born and reared. This is her first book.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 31 comments:

alynne, January 3, 2013 (view all comments by alynne)
Portraying the experiences of 3 black migrants from 3 different decades, the author deftly interweaves them into the larger story of the mass migration of blacks out of the South in the years following WWII. Each leaves for different reasons, with different backgrounds, and experiences different levels of economic success, but the unifying desire to breathe "free" unites their stories and those of more than a million others whose stories and struggles were not recorded.

This is a "big" book about an important event, but the mixture of the personal stories and historical information made it a very fast read. Nothing dry or boring about it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Lauren - Vancouver, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Lauren - Vancouver)
Best book I read in 2012. Wilkerson tells a story that most of us never learned in school, and she tells it plainly. She traces the course of only three lives and manages to describe the reality of millions. It's a great read - I couldn't wait to read on - and deserving of all the honors. The Warmth of Other Suns should be required reading for all American high school students, and the rest of us, too.
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bookclubreader, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by bookclubreader)
The Warmth of Other Suns gives the reader a valuable insight into the migration and treatment of African Americans in our nation. At times shocking, the author traces three individuals and their struggles, while providing helpful background information. It is an important read as the history books I was assigned to read in school and college never explored this side of the issues of segregation and prejudice in our nation.
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View all 31 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679444329
Author:
Wilkerson, Isabel
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
General
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor
Subject:
Emigration & Immigration
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
African American Studies-Black Heritage
Subject:
Ethnic Studies-Immigration
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
A &mdash;<i>Entertainment Weekly<br></i><br>&ldquo
Language:
English
Pages:
640
Dimensions:
9.56x6.62x1.48 in. 2.16 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » NYT Ten Best Books » 2010
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Immigration
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 640 pages Random House - English 9780679444329 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Warmth of Other Suns is a fascinating epic narrative of the Great Migration by the brilliant and beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a 'necktie party' (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by 'the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town.' Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize — winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the 'great migration,' the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an 'uncertain existence' in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. 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. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "The Warmth of Other Suns is epic in its reach and in its structure. 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."
"Synopsis" by , With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells the story of the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, from 1915 to 1970, through the lives of three unique individuals.
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