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Kinga's Reading

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - Isabel Wilkerson Three stars is probably not adequate for a book that I liked a lot, but three stars is what I feel I should give. The Warmth of Other Suns is a great masterpiece of research that focuses on the movement of black people from the south to the north of the US. This took place in the 20th Century, following World War I until the early 70s. Isabel Wilkerson weaves through her research stories of men and women (and children) who, unable to stand the racism and segregation of the southern states, moved their familes up to the northern states. Their stories of life in the south are heartbreaking and difficult to read, at times. There is no respite from the horrors once these people arrive up north, though. The three main characters Ida Mae, George and Robert come out of the pages and their stories are fascinating as much as they are painful. So far, so good.The aspects of this book which made me drop a star in my review were small and insignificant, but they built up over the length of this book. There's a lot of repetition: in the stories of the three main people, in the analysis, in the treatment of blacks down south or up north. Everytime the story swung back to Ida Mae, George or Robert, we got a little summation of what they'd been up to until now. But this was unnecessary and boring after a while because I'd just read about their story a few pages back. I was paying attention. There's also some repetition in the fact of housing: black people found it difficult to move outside of the acknowledged "black" area and were often forced out of the "white" areas by violence. This is an awful fact, but there is no need to mention it over and over and over again. I was, as I said, paying attention. Caste is a word that was overused. I understand that the division between the black population and white population was one similar to caste, but surely other words could have been used. In the UK we talk of classes, but races and minorities and groups in society would have sufficed. Instead we got caste, caste, caste. I suppose it was for some shock value or to indicate just how bad things were...but it would have been better to use the word throughout the text, interspersing it with others also applicable.This book was extremely well research and I learned a lot from it. Some of the stories hit me hard and I carried them around with me for days. But, in the end, what I found to be the shortcomings of this book were too much for me.