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

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

ISBN13: 9780679763888
ISBN10: 0679763880
Condition: Standard
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Awards

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:

"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] massive and masterly account of the Great Migration....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 (Cover Review)

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

Review:

"One of the most lyrical and important books of the season." David Shribman, Boston Globe

Review:

"[An] extraordinary and evocative work." The Washington Post

Review:

"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

About the Author

Isabel Wilkerson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her reporting as Chicago bureau chief of the New York Times. The award made her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting. She won the George Polk Award for her coverage of the Midwest and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her research into the Great Migration. She has lectured on narrative writing 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 38 comments:

seatower, January 31, 2013 (view all comments by seatower)
An incredibly well-written, spell-binding book. The author, Isabel Wilkerson spent years researching and thousands of hours interviewing people nationwide in order to write this excellent non-fiction book. The migrations played a major part in our national demography and everyone should be aware of this historical anomaly. History, personal memoirs, and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all human beings are treasures this book lends to all readers.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
LabLuv, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by LabLuv)
This nonfiction book reads like a historical novel as the author follows the lives of three African Americans who sought a better life in the North in the early 1900s. Through these people we learn not only of the hardships of life in a segregated South, but how they faced new and similar challenges in the North. Much has been written before about the Great Migration, but here we are presented with the complete extent of the movement and its after effects.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
aspalt, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by aspalt)
The previously untold story of the great internal migration of African-Americans from the Jim Crow south to northern cities from the 1920's to the 60's. It is told through the experiences of three very different but typical families against the background of the whole movement. Placing this migration in the context of external (e.g. from Europe) migrations to a new land of opportunity and peril is enlightening. Reads like a novel but well documented.
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View all 38 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679763888
Subtitle:
The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Author:
Wilkerson, Isabel
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
African American Studies-Black Heritage
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
A &mdash;<i>Entertainment Weekly<br></i><br>&ldquo
Language:
English
Pages:
640

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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 640 pages Vintage Books - English 9780679763888 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.

"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] massive and masterly account of the Great Migration....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."
"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."
"Review" by , "One of the most lyrical and important books of the season."
"Review" by , "[An] extraordinary and evocative work."
"Review" by , "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."
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