—Charles McGrath, The New York Times

The Warmth of Other Suns is a brilliant and stirring epic, the first book to cover the full half-century of the Great Migration… Wilkerson combines impressive research…with great narrative and literary power. Ms. Wilkerson does for the Great Migration what John Steinbeck did for the Okies in his fiction masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath; she humanizes history, giving it emotional and psychological depth.”

—John Stauffer, The Wall Street Journal

“Not since Alex Haley’s Roots has there been a history of equal literary quality where the writing surmounts the rhythmic soul of fiction, where the writer’s voice sings a song of redemptive glory as true as Faulkner’s southern cantatas.”

—The San Francisco Examiner

The Warmth of Other Suns is epic in its reach and in its structure. Told in a voice that echoes the magic cadences of Toni Morrison or the folk wisdom of Zora Neale Hurston’s collected oral histories, Wilkerson’s book pulls not just the expanse of the migration into focus but its overall impact on politics, literature, music, sports — in the nation and the world. Wilkerson has logged not just the dates and figures that make these stories fact and thus formal history, she’s made indelible the fading music of these voices, the dance of their speech patterns, the intricate chemistry of folk cures and cornbread rendered from scratch. Beyond the family china or a great-grandmother’s wedding ring, there was always the ambient fear that these stories were actually the most fragile pieces in the hope chest — the easiest to go missing. What she’s done with these oral histories is stow memory in amber. ”

—Lynell George, Los Angeles Times

“[Ms. Wilkerson’s] hard work, keen insight and passionate personal commitment make “The Warmth of Other Suns” a landmark piece of nonfiction… Her closeness with, and profound affection for, her subjects reflect her deep immersion in their stories and allow the reader to share that connection…. A book sure to hold many surprises for readers of any race or experience.”

—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“One of the most lyrical and important books of the season. The Warmth of Other Suns, written by the daughter of participants in this great wave, is a monument to deep research and even deeper reflection…. These stories, case studies written as novellas, humanize this movement and place it squarely within the most American of experiences, for whether in the front of the train or at the back of the bus, these migrants did what so many others in American history did, move from a place of oppression to someplace else in search of something better.”

—David Shribman, Boston Globe

“[A] massive and masterly account of the Great Migration….Based on more than a thousand interviews, written in broad imaginative strokes, this book, at 622 pages, is something of an anomaly in today’s shrinking world of nonfiction publishing: a narrative epic rigorous enough to impress all but the crankiest of scholars, yet so immensely readable as to land the author a future place on Oprah’s couch.”

—Cover, The New York Times Book Review

“[A] deeply affecting, finely crafted and heroic book ….Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century—a phenomenon whose dimensions and significance have eluded many a scholar—and told it through the lives of three people no one has ever heard of. Narrative nonfiction is risky; it has to be grabby, telling, and true. To bear analytical weight, it has to be almost frighteningly shrewd. In The Warmth of Other Suns, three lives, three people, three stories, are asked to stand in for six million. Can three people explain six million? Do they have to? Your answers probably depend, mostly, on your intellectual proclivities. You’re reading this magazine; chances are you lean toward thinking that stories, good stories, explain. ….This is narrative nonfiction, lyrical and tragic and fatalist. The story exposes; the story moves; the story ends. What Wilkerson urges, finally, isn’t argument at all; it’s compassion. Hush, and listen.”

—Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

“There have been many books written on the migration of Southern blacks to the North, but Wilkerson’s might surpass them all in ambition, scope, breadth and storytelling.”

—The Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[An] extraordinary and evocative work.”

—The Washington Post

“Mesmerizing… What makes [The Warmth of Other Suns] compelling is the remarkable intimacy of the stories she tells; her ability to recreate, in wonderfully lyrical prose, the private struggles of particular men and women caught in a system designed to denigrate them.”

—Chicago Tribune

“Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson makes clear in her new, improbably page-turning account of [the] Great Migration, [that] the black citizens who crossed the Mason-Dixon Line to reach their new homes bore many striking similarities to those who crossed the Atlantic Ocean… Wilkerson’s book reminds us how much of this country’s history is bound up in people dissatisfied with where they woke up and resolved to be someplace better tomorrow.”

—Detroit Free Press

“[Black Southerners] did not cross the turnstiles of customs at Ellis Island. They were already citizens. But where they came from, they were not treated as such,” writes Isabel Wilkerson in The Warmth of Other Suns, her sprawling and stunning account of the Great Migration, the 55-year stretch (1915–70) during which 6 million black Americans fled the Jim Crow South. Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, uses the journeys of three of them — a Mississippi sharecropper, a Louisiana doctor, and a Florida laborer — to etch an indelible and compulsively readable portrait of race, class, and politics in 20th-century America. History is rarely distilled so finely.” Grade: A

—Entertainment Weekly

“A captivating tale of hardship and perseverance that is at once epic, and strikingly intimate.”

—The Daily Beast

“[The Warmth of Other Suns] power arises from its close attention to intimate details in the lives of regular people…..if you want to learn about what being a migrant felt like, read Wilkerson. Her intimate portraits convey – as no book prior ever has – what the migration meant to those who were a part of it….The Warmth of Other Suns stands as a vital contribution to our understanding of the black American experience and of the unstoppable social movement that shaped modern America.”

— The Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Now, after her research took her from New York to Los Angeles, from quilting clubs to AARP meetings, Isabel Wilkerson delivers! The Warmth of Other Suns [is]…an astonishing work. With the precision of a surgeon, Wilkerson illuminates the stories of bold, faceless African-Americans who transformed cities and industries with their hard work and determination to provide their children with better lives.”


“Academic researchers have documented portions of the migration, although some of the research is colored by overt bigotry. A few skilled journalists have published books, too, most notably Nicholas Lemann, who wrote The Promised Land (Knopf, 1991). Wilkerson, though, might have topped them all in breadth, depth and readability with The Warmth of Other Suns, which she builds around the real-life stories of three migrants.”

—Houston Chronicle

“Isabel Wilkerson’s majestic The Warmth of Other Suns shows that not everyone bloomed, but the migrants — Wilkerson prefers to think of them as domestic immigrants — remade the entire country, North and South. It’s a monumental job of writing and reporting that lives up to its subtitle: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.”

—USA Today

“[A] sweeping history of the Great Migration…..Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times, has taken what many would consider an indigestible chunk of history — long and sometimes famously written about by earlier historians and sociologists — and given us an extraordinarily palatable narrative ….The Warmth of Other Suns builds upon such purely academic works to make the migrant experience both accessible and emotionally compelling.”


“[An] exceptional book…. [Wilkerson’s] extensive demographic and social-history research, thousands of interviews and select oral histories create a fresh, rich book…. The young man who thinks history is static and about “other” people; the future novelist, reporter, historian, activist, informed citizen — all will come under the spell of personal narrative and see the need to dig deep and find history.”

—The Seattle Times

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration is a beautifully written, in-depth analysis of what Wilkerson calls “one of the most underreported stories of the 20th century…. a masterpiece that sheds light on a significant development in our nation’s history.”

—The San Jose Mercury News

The Warmth of Other Suns is a beautifully written book that, once begun, is nearly impossible to put aside. It is an unforgettable combination of tragedy and inspiration, and gripping subject matter and characters in a writing style that grabs the reader on Page 1 and never let’s go…. Woven into the tapestry of [three individuals] lives, in prose that is sweet to savor, Wilkerson tells the larger story, the general situation of life in the South for blacks…. If you read one only one book about history this year, read this. If you read only one book about African Americans this year, read this. If you read only one book this year, read this.”

—The Free Lance Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

“[A] magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration… The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.”

—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

“[Wilkerson’s] powerful storytelling style…gives this decades-spanning history a welcome novelistic flavor. An impressive take on the Great Migration, and a truly auspicious debut.”

—Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)

“Each narrative becomes a rich novella thanks to Wilkerson’s instinct for pacing and for her subjects’ idiosyncrasies….This book, for all its rigor, is so absorbing, it should come with a caveat: Pick it up only when you can lose yourself entirely.”

— O, The Oprah Magazine

“Isabel Wilkerson has rendered the most sweeping, most moving record of the Great Migration to date. It is at once history told on a grand scale—like Taylor Branch’s civil rights era trilogy—and biography written with a quality of empathy perhaps only available to a child of the Migration herself…. The Warmth of Other Suns is an impassioned history, by turns sweeping and specific, celebratory and shocking. This is a book that enacts the very thing it describes; like the brave lives of the people she writes about, it is a testimony, a challenge, and a timely reminder of our still unfulfilled promise of a more perfect union.”

—Barnes and Noble Review

“Profound, necessary and an absolute delight to read.”

—Toni Morrison

“The Warmth of Other Suns is a sweeping and yet deeply personal tale of America’s hidden 20th century history – the long and difficult trek of Southern blacks to the northern and western cities. This is an epic for all Americans who want to understand the making of our modern nation.”

—Tom Brokaw

“A seminal work of narrative nonfiction…You will never forget these people.”

—Gay Talese

“With compelling prose and considered analysis, Isabel Wilkerson has given us a landmark portrait of one of the most significant yet little-noted shifts in American history: the migration of African-Americans from the Jim Crow South to the cities of the North and West. It is a complicated tale, with an infinity of implications for questions of race, power, politics, religion, and class–implications that are unfolding even now. This book will be long remembered, and savored.”

—Jon Meacham

“Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns is an American masterpiece, a stupendous literary success that channels the social sciences as iconic biography in order to tell a vast story of a people’s reinvention of itself and of a nation—the first complete history of the Great Black Migration from start to finish, north, east, west.”

—David Levering Lewis

“Isabel Wilkerson’s book is a masterful narrative of the rich wisdom and deep courage of a great people. Don’t miss it!”

—Cornel West

“”[Ms. Wilkerson’s] hard work, keen insight and passionate personal commitment make The Warmth of Other Suns a landmark piece of nonfiction…A book sure to hold many surprises for readers of any race or experience.”

The New York Times

“Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns [is an] epic chronicling of the 55-year phenomenon known as the Great Migration…..Scholarly though readable.”

—Chicago Sun Times

“Wilkerson has created a brilliant and innovative paradox: the intimate epic. At its smallest scale, this towering work rests on a trio of unforgettable biographies, lives as humble as they were heroic… In different decades and for different reasons they headed north and west, along with millions of fellow travelers. . . In powerful, lyrical prose that combines the historian’s rigor with the novelist’s empathy, Wilkerson’s book changes our understanding of the Great Migration and indeed of the modern United States.”

— Judges, The Mark Lynton History Prize, bestowed by Columbia University and Harvard University