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.
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.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
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.
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..
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
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.
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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.
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 hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
This was a stunning listen. It answered so many questions and filled in the holes I had about our country and its changes over the past century. Though much has been written about immigrants coming here from other countries, I never really understood what had happened right here at home.
First off, the data that's included as part of the author's research is stunning. Just simply looking at the numbers - rates of childbirth, etc. - puts to rest many of the misconceptions that have become a part of the narrative.
Second, when you look at what happened through the eyes of the three main "characters", what they endured is heartbreaking. I'm horrified that we, as a country, could treat human beings the way these people were treated. It is unthinkable.
It seems the Great Migration is still a part of our culture. Though Minneapolis was not a destination initially, I see the impact here. Many of my neighbors talk about going back "home" each summer - and that's Chicago or Milwaukee. I'm sure if I were to dig a little deeper, they're the younger generations of the brave people who first made the trek north. It makes me wonder if the youngest generation has any idea what their elders went through to make the north their home.
Though I think this book could be classified as scholarly research, the way it's presented makes it very approachable. I found the narration to be a perfect fit. If you are interested in this country's past - or your neighbor's past - this book captures a part of history that is often overlooked. Excellent listen.