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.