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.
This book is a labor of love, indeed. Thousands of interviews, copious footnotes, and still it reads more like a novel than a history book.
I dare say that it is impossible to have more than a modicum of understanding of American History without the range of information covered here.
Thank you, Isabel Wilkerson!
It builds slowly, but deliberately, to a wonderful emotional end where the reader feels sad to say, "Goodbye" to characters. I did not see the "repetitiveness" asserted by some reviewers as laborious. Sections recapped earlier portions in the way that TV dramas do. I enjoyed the approach. It is a long book to which I look for a sequel.
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.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
Excellent book about the Jim Crow south, and civil rights movement as told through statistics, historical events and also the intimate story of three individuals, Robert Pershing Foster (Louisiana to Los Angeles), George Starling (Florida to New York), Ida Mae Gladney (Mississippi to Chicago). Definitely a labor of love as it helped Isabel better understand her parents.
If "The Help", opened the door a bit, this is an excellent follow-up to kick that door down. I have a better inkling now. While I can't totally understand, Ms. Wilkerson helped bring it home.
I felt like this dragged on and on. And repetitive! Oh my. I did learn things and for that reasons I'm glad I listened and finished it. But I didn't love the writing and found the repetitiveness insulting.
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.
A most wonderful example of social history - looking at the story of the great migration through the eyes of three real people, who are portrayed so realistically and compassionately that I really felt sad as their stories drew to a close. The interweaving of the individual stories with the overall history of the migration was very enriching, and I was inspired by these people who took such risks to make something of their lives. Some of the discussion of racial attitudes even of relatively recent times was quite horrifying and it was encouraging to see how far American and other western cultures have come in our acceptance of people of other races and backgrounds. Highly recommended.
My reading preferences lean toward the historical. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, but give me a story that I can't wait to share!
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 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!
I will never think of blacks, the South, or race relations between whites and blacks in the same way. Wilkerson has done an outstanding job of bringing to life what it was like for blacks living in the South and what motivated millions of blacks to leave the South for the North, Northeast, and West over a period of decades starting around the time of WWI.
Her story closely follows three individuals, along with short stories of other people and her family, mixed in with a lot of sociological research. Although not a page turner, I was never bored and I learned so much about American History that I never knew well or understood at all. At its heart, this is a story about the impact of 400 years of slavery, abuse, oppression, and discrimination on a group of people. Wilkerson goes way beyond the sorrow, however, to focus on the strength, determination, and grit it took for blacks to survive and to make it out of the South. She is an excellent writer and she never sensationalizes the story nor does she lecture or sermonize.
This is the first time I have listened to Robin Miles narrate a story. She did a top notch job. Her Southern accents for men and women seemed spot on.