Friday, March 16, 2012

The Warmth of Other Suns

Author: Isabel Wilkerson
Published by Vintage Books 2011
Reviewed by Nellie

     Starting with the story of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, The Warmth of Other Suns  takes us on a journey that began in 1915 when the first African Americans began to leave The South for cities in the North. As descendants of American slaves, African Americans found many reasons to leave their home for unknown places. They were usually treated poorly, underpaid, undereducated and otherwise mistreated by their whiter neighbors.
     Isabel Wilkerson lovingly tells the story of Ida Mae, Dr. Robert Joseph Pershing Foster and George Swanson Starling as they face hardships in The South and ultimately decide to move north into a world unknown.  Their stories cover the entire scope of The Great Migration from 1915 and continued to 1965 and include great and not-so-great milestones in the history of The United States of America, the "land of the free, home of the brave."
   This is a long book - more than 500 pages - but it is an easy read of a very hard subject.  I considered myself pretty knowledgable of  problems between African Americans and others in America, but what I knew was just the beginning.  in The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson leaves out little but she does so with a warmth and care that makes you care about the characters both their good and less attractive characteristics. She covers a subject that could be depressing but isn't because she shows us the joy and strength of  our human spirit.
     I read this book as quickly as a work of fiction.  It flows freely between time periods but does so in a way that made me glad to travel.  
    I recommend it for people who are interested in learning a part of history seldom written about or people who just like a good story.  A Warmth of Other Suns has several of them.

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