Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
By Isabel Wilkerson
Random House, 2010. 640 pages. Nonfiction.

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 tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career in Los Angeles. The author intersperses these personal stories with more general historical information, creating a richly detailed chronicle of twentieth-century America.

Even though this book is lengthy and detailed, I found myself unable to put it down. Wilkerson's writing style is very engaging and each of the three people she focuses on has a compelling story. I love nonfiction like this that teaches me about a time and place that I knew nothing about before reading the book. This book gave me a much greater understanding of American history and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about our recent past.


1 comment:

Danmark said...

If the topic is even remotely of interest to you, you owe it to yourself to read this fascinating book. Dr. Wilkerson does a remarkable job of taking the reader to the places Ida Mae, George, and Robert lived, both physically and emotionally and what it was like to them to be hated and relegated to servant status.