Rating: 5 out of 5.

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, 496 pp

non-fiction, sociology / race

In light of heightened political unrest, which stemmed from June 2020 protests and the fuller emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Caste is an important read, especially for those of us who cannot identify with the struggle the way Isabel Wilkerson can. Her authentic voice and willingness to share and interject her own experiences combined with examinations of India’s caste system and Nazi Germany present solid discussions for the why we are where we are and where we need to move forward to in understanding and correcting race relations. The writing becomes dense in some spots and the same point is hammered home multiple times, but understanding Caste is a non-fiction work of tremendous research and thought warrants the slogging through the middle to raise our consciousness of an important societal topic. I also highly recommend Wilkerson’s other excellent sociological look at the development of America’s caste system, The Warmth of Other Suns.

Check out my other top picks for Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Non-Fiction and Simple Pleasure Reading.

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Jhumpa Lahiri

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