situation in contemporary America. Caste provoked more serious conversation than anything we have read in a long time. It is tempting to tell you what I think about this book, but doing so might influence your own reaction to Wilkerson's views.
Isabel Wilkerson is the talented author of The Warmth of Other Suns, a history of the migration of African Americans to the North. In her current book, she relates her own and others’ life experiences, historical material, and her own analysis. The division of the book into seven parts, each a mixture of these types of writing, makes the book more accessible:
Throughout, Wilkerson traces the origin of the American caste system, which unlike the concept of race, is fixed and rigid, to the introduction of Africans to Virginia in the early seventeenth century. She describes endlessly the inhuman treatment the slaves endured up through the Jim Crow years—separation of families, whipping, inhuman work hours and living conditions, and lynching. She quotes liberally the work of scholars such as Gunnar Myrdal. She compares the caste system in America with that of India and Nazi Germany. She also interprets events like the election of Trump in the light of our caste system.
This is an important book to read, but I cannot suggest that it will be entertaining or relaxing in these difficult times. This book’s permanent location in our Library is on the upper level in the African American Issues section.
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