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I had no idea there was such a thing as a “Great Migration” where black people streamed out of the South to make better lives for themselves in the Northern States. I of course have heard of The Underground Railroad, but never this “overground” version of events which took place from about 1915 to 1970; I definitely learned a lot.
I constantly have my nose in a book (actually I should say my ears since most of them are audio!) and I always look forward to reading/listening every chance I get; except for this case. I never felt like getting back to it, it felt a burden every time. Yet when I would pick it up again, I was quickly recaptivated and always surprised that it had felt like a chore to get going once more. You’d think I’d be anxious to continue because it’s a very very interesting topic.
I suppose it’s because the subject matter is so amazingly depressing. Hearing about how people were treated so abominably is not easy to absorb, I think perhaps deep down I did not want to know more about it. It’s all so sad and distressing and depraved – but in the end I am glad I finished it. Sadness aside, I feel a little better educated.
The great migration was not a part of history covered in any of my history classes. This is a book all Americans, whatever ethnicity or background, should read. It is a piece of our history we should all know. This book was extraordinarily well written and extremely well narrated. For how long it is, it never felt long - I listened to it in record time, and felt compelled to listen all the time. Highly highly recommend.
Good book that was especially interesting in the first half detailing the reasons for Blacks making the migration North and West. I was at times extremely embarrassed and angry at the behavior of Whites towards a people that are just trying to find a better life. It helped me understand the reasons why Black neighorhoods in the North evolved like the did----because African Americans were forced into these costly, crowded and often crime ridden areas. Great historical read and something than my pre-teens will be listenting to soon.
Putting books on the back burner.
I don't know what compelled me to read "The Warmth of Other Suns." I've read other books on African Americans, like the Help and I have watched Roots, Color Purple and many other films on this topic. I've always thought that I knew the struggles for the blacks, but Isabel Wilkerson prize winning book really touched my heart because the stories are all real.
Instead of fictional characters that are there to entertain us, this book is about the migration for many African Americans fleeing the south and heading elsewhere in the country for an new start. The three biographies are really good. It gives you different views of different lives. There is a sharecropper's wife who leaves for Chicago. an agricultural worker who migrates to New York and a doctor who journeys to Los Angeles.
Each of their lives are unfiltered and their stories are not embellish for the publication. Their stories are just well told without a climax, just like many of our lives.
Already have! The stories are a rich tapestry of the Black American migration to the north following the development of Jim Crow laws in the south. I had never considered the "how or why" so many blacks live in the cities of Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, or Los Angeles. This book opened my eyes to yet another chapter in the American experience. It reminded me of the phrase "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". The strength and perserverance of some people amaze and humble me when I read a story like The Warmth of Other Suns.
This is one of the best books that I've ever read. The scope of the book covers the 60 years of blacks migrating to the north, east and west. It rarely gets boring. Mostly because Wilkerson follows 3 very different people out of the South. She intersperses the data between the ongoing stories of their lives so well that you forget that it's nonfiction. It's only the second book that has moved me, shocked me and made me cry... the other being The Grapes of Wrath. The Jim Crow brutalities and oppression were horrifying and deserved her detailed descriptions. Robin Miles narration has a great deal to do with the books success. She does a superb job of southern voices both men and women, all of them distinct from each other.
I can't recommend the book highly enough.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
I knew I wanted to read this book when it first came out, although I didn't realize just how important and timely it would be. This book should be mandatory reading in every American History class.
First of all, the narrator was perfection. I don't believe anyone could have done a better job.
The story really opened my eyes and made me aware of things that I just could not know from living in my own small and isolated world. I was fascinated and curious to follow the individual story threads out to the end. Along the way, I often shook my head in disbelief or grimaced in amazement that these things could have happened in my country. It feels almost like parallel worlds were sharing the same space-time continuum. I do feel I am a better, more knowledgeable person for having listened to this history of the African-American migration and what it was like to be African-American in this country. We've come a long way but I fear, we still have a long way to go.
I strongly recommend this well-researched, well-written, and expertly narrated book.
Say something about yourself!
As a progressive liberal, raised in the post WWII housing projects of NYC and a teenager during the high crime era of "West Side Story" days.... who was shocked by the revelations of the civil rights movement (the idea of "white only" or "black only" ANYTHING down south was unimaginable) the first chapter was kind of an annoying rehash of US history as I lived it.
BUT, hang in there, don't get discouraged, this book is worth all 22 hours and 42 minutes of your time. I usually listen to books while doing something else. This is the first book that made me sit still and just listen..
We are all aware of the Jim Crow laws and the plight of the blacks but this book puts literal teeth into the horrors of slave treatment after emancipation. It traces the lives of various slaves as they find life in the south unbearable and dangerous and thus migrate to the north. I had no idea the numbers were in the millions. An important read.
Each of the characters has such a unique perspective I cannot choose one. I learned something new from each of them.
I found the scenes from the railroad conductor particularly moving.
This was an excellent retelling of real people's stories who lived through the major events of American civil rights history. It documented the lives of four people who dealt with the blatant racism of the South, as well as the more subterranean racist systems of the North as they migrated from the South to the perceived promised land of the North. It brings to light the insidiousness of race relations throughout much of the 20th Century and informs how we can continue to think about race issues today. For me as a young white male who did not grow up understanding much of these issues, it was a deeply impactful narrative. This book turns abstract statistics about race relations into concrete stories that describe how people actually experienced race relations. I highly recommend it!