Illinois Authors

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Isabel Wilkerson

Born: in Washington, District of Columbia
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Wilkerson worked in Chicago for several years as the Chicago Bureau Chief for the New York Times Newspaper.

Biography: Isabel Wilkerson is a Journalist, writer, and educator. In 1994, she became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of American journalism. Also, she was the first African American to win the prize for individual reporting. She has taught at Princeton, Emory, and Boston Universities and has lectured at more than two hundred other colleges and universities across the United States and in Europe and Asia. Wilkerson currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • """The Warmth of Other Suns"""
  • -- Circle Award for Nonfiction, National Book Critics
  • -- 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the 2010s, Time's
  • -- Best Nonfiction of All Time, New York Times
  • -- Lynton History Prize
  • -- Heartland Award
  • -- Finalist, Dayton Literary Peace Prize
  • -- ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, The New York Times, USA Today, O: The Oprah Magazine, Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Salon, Newsday, The Daily Beast
  • -- ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Economist, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Guardian, The Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Chri
  • """Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents"""
  • -- Oprah's Book Club, 2020
  • -- Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
  • -- Starred Review, Library Journal
  • -- Starred Review, Booklist

Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Caste The Origins of Our Discontents
ISBN: 0593230256 OCLC: 1147928120

""As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today"--

The Warmth of Other Suns
ISBN: 0679444327 OCLC: 477270924

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.