[Review] The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Publisher and Publication Date: Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. First published 2010. Published by Vintage 2011.
Genre: Nonfiction. History.
Pages: 634 total reading pages.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase
Audience: Readers of American history, biographies, and African American history.
Rating: Excellent.

National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, as well as several other awards.

To read more information about the book: Penguin Random House.

Link @ Amazon

Link @ Barnes and Noble

This is the 2nd book I’ve finished for the Chunkster Reading Challenge 2021.

Isabel Wilkerson’s Goodreads page

Isabel Wilkerson’s Twitter

Isabel Wilkerson’s website


The Warmth of Other Suns is a narrative nonfiction account of the migration of Black Americans in the 20th century. It began in 1915 and ended in 1970. Millions of men, women, boys, and girls left the southern states of the United States and relocated to the Northeast, Northern states, and the West coast.

Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people for this epic history book (and includes many of their stories), but the focus is on three people.
Ida Mae Brandon Gladney
George Swanson Starling
Robert Joseph Pershing Foster

My Thoughts:

I’d not heard of this book until 2020. I love history. I love biographies. I love reading about a history that had been unknown to me. On that last point, I am unsure how this book had not crossed my path before. I wonder how many other books are out there that are important reads just waiting for me to discover?

Several reasons why I love this book and believe it is an important book!

  • Narrative nonfiction is alongside historical facts and statistics.
  • The three people who have full biographies give a personal warmth to the whole of the book.
  • There is a palpable energy starting at the first page.
  • Extensive and fascinating notes section.
  • A solid foundation is laid about the history of Jim Crow South (1880s-1960s).
  • Examples of the hardships and sufferings: lynchings, sharecropper system, how they traveled out of the South, problems that occurred in the new state they’d moved to, leaving family and friends behind, finding a job, marriage and family, education, and housing. All of these examples are hard to read about, but they showed me how this people group endured and persevered.
  • The epilogue told me the rest of the story about the three who have been the focus. Wilkerson gave me a solid closure for the book.
  • Ida Gladney’s story resonated with me the most. Possibly because she’s a woman. She was a remarkable woman. A remarkable person. If her story had been the only one, this book would still be excellent.
  • The front cover of the book is perfect. Conversation worthy.

One thought on “[Review] The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

  1. Pingback: Chunkster Reading Challenge 2021 | Impressions In Ink

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