Jack's Reviews > The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
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Jan 04, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: history, nonfiction
Read in December, 2011

Spectacular. The Economist rated this book as "on the light side" for best books of 2011. At first I thought that that was rather insulting. But truth is that it's the highest complement possible. The Great Migration is one of the most important and underappreciated factors of American political history, and Wilkerson conveyed the importance of this decades-long event in an enjoyable and easy to read book. A true achievement. I really liked her approach to the story. In describing the 20th century migration of black Americans from south to north, she focused on three people. These three regular folks were, in essence, immigrants traveling from what was known (and horrific) to what was unknown and hopefully better. They took a real chance. These three people did what millions of others did, but by focusing on the difficulties and experiences of these three people, Wilkerson is better able to give a sense of what the millions of "immigrants" experienced. I found this technique useful in "the Travels of a T-Shirt in a Globalized World": focus on a t-shirt to understand globalization. Here, focus on three people to understand millions. The Great Migration impact EVERYTHING about America: race, elections, party identification, cities, the South, the North, etc etc. This book should be on a list of 10 or 20 that every American should read to undestand this country. Granted, I have read no other books about this topic, so I'm sure others can recommend better books on the Great Migration, but I thought this book was fantastic.
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