Caste Book Reviews

Isabel Wilkerson

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson Book Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • “An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, O: The Oprah Magazine, NPR, Bloomberg, The Christian Science Monitor, New York Post, The New York Public Library, Fortune, Smithsonian Magazine, Marie Claire, Slate, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews

Winner of the Carl Sandberg Literary Award • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • National Book Award Longlist • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist • Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalist • PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Finalist • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlist • Kirkus Prize Finalist

“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, and beautifully written 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 outcasting 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.

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 American life today.

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Book Name Caste
Genre Social Science
Language English
E-Book Size 3.97 MB

Caste (Isabel Wilkerson) Book Reviews 2023

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Eye Opening. This book definitely opened my eyes to the caste system in America. I never looked at it as caste, but pure racism. Now, I understand the comparison and see why so many minorities continue to have to fight to get equality. I cannot put anyone in heaven or hell, but slavery and Jim Crow were pure evil and those that contributed to it will burn in hell.

If only we could. If only somehow, this book be made required reading for this country. Ignorance is the parent of bigotry. And I mean intentional, enforced ignorance.

Timely and necessary. This book tells it like it is. The US of A was built on the backs of slaves and at the cost of many lives. Read this book and get comfortable with the uncomfortableness that our fellow Americans deal with. Then speak out and change. I’m doing it...join me please. Let’s change this horrible way of living.

Incredible book!!!!. This is a read that every citizen in the world should be exposed to!!! A TOTAL EYE OPENER 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

Time for reflection. This book has done more for my own personal growth than any other I can remember. At times, it was difficult and prickly to honestly reflect and examine my own thoughts. I believe it to be an important part of my own evolution, allowing me to think deeply and not self-criticize for the past but more importantly become more self-aware in my future. This book has profoundly affected me. It’s message is desperately needed in our society right now.

Incredible. This book should be taught in US schools.

Read, Read, Read. Wonderful, sad, surprising, important, educational, historical. Everyone should read this book.

Sad and stunning. Incredibly well written analysis of why humans drift towards tribes. A truly thought provoking book, but be warned. It's not a feel good book.

Don’t waste your time or money. Awful

Truth to Power. I really don't have adequate words to fully express how changed I am from the author's expression of such profound truths. This book should be read by every human being. It's transformative.

Essential reading for all Americans. This book needs to be taught in all schools across the country. It allows us to reframe our conception of what it means to be an American and what the history of our country — I.e. it was founded on the notions of a caste system and still operates as such today. It’s frankly horrifying, and if we don’t awaken to this reality and start talking about it in a widespread fashion, I fear we’re doomed to perpetuate this atrocity endlessly. So please, for the betterment of every single person living in America, read this book and develop a better understanding of who we are, how we got here, and how we must change.

A Book That Should Be Read By All. As heartbreaking and beautifully told story of the world many of us live in without knowing it. That none of us are immune from what tears us rather than binds us. That with confidence, courage and compassion we can see that we are all that is. And we belong together.

هههکک. رذعره هغ ر

Thank you. Very informative and easy to understand there is no way in between we’re all in this together and should love one another as God has intended. I am so grateful to better understand from people who endured or have endured but make no mistake about it there memories live on and so shall we in a place we can all love and share are God given talents. Thank you Ed

A must read for the twenty first century moving forward. Loved this book.

Powerful book!. Everyone should read this book.

ivan j. i am shiryu the dragon

Interesting read. Comprehensive look into caste systems and how they influence our behavior.

A MUST READ for all citizens of humanity. This is a brilliant description of the history and continued presence Caste system around the world, and most specifically in the United States. By framing today’s events in this history, the author has opened my eyes to its foundations, power and influence, and exquisitely explains the origins of our current discontent. Once seen, caste cannot be unseen; and once read, Caste cannot be forgotten.

Powerful and in-depth. Such a powerful and in-depth review of the constructs of social economic and political oppression that many have faced globally not just here in the US how it presents here in the United States it’s just extremely unique because of our history with slavery and the foundation in which our nation was establish and those situations of individuals flea Europe to seek a new beginning.

Garbage Propaganda. This is basically the template for the current neo-“liberal” race-based movement. I should move to China and write this book, replacing “white” with “Chinese.” The superimposition of caste structure atop the ALREADY EXISTING social structure of, and within, the US is as artificial as race itself. To then ascribe success of “racial” groups to race in and of itself, ignoring patterns of immigration, wealth-building and cultural value systems is as stupid as trying to attribute the myth of the “gender” pay gap solely to whether you’re male or female, ignoring behavioral traits that are more commonly found in males (aggressive, argumentative) vs those more commonly found in females (passive, agreeable). While it is true that blacks have been overtly discriminated against in the US and ACROSS THE WORLD, the book fails to explain CURRENT opportunities for social mobility post-anti-discrimination act, fails to acknowledge the existence of successful, wealthy blacks and black families across the US, and fails to draw parallels of cross-racial patterns of INDIVIDUAL behaviors that allow one to become successful in this country. This aggressively-written compilation of shock phrases, memes, and fallacious race-based idealogies follows the typical idealogue paradigm of, “Since the world is a confusing place, first i will lay everything out that confuses you, confusing you even more (making you gullible). Then I will explain to you why you’re confused (the pitch, laid out to convince you that I know what I’m talking about). Then I will explain a set of answers to questions I either led you into, or forced out of you, spoon-feeding you a set of beliefs that will help UNconfuse you, and place you into my system of followers (you wont even realize it).” This is how systemic ideologies, like religious or political movements, are packaged and sold. While many lower and middle-class blacks, and their equally racist simp white counterparts may find an appeal to this type of writing and the mythological version of the US it presents (while all myth is based on select bits of reality, reality isnt myth), this should be read with a hyper-critical eye for falsehoods and skewings of reality, and as a set of more excuses designed to blame society for personal failure. The House of America does not exist, as it’s a material thing...fallible, tangible, susceptible to rot and the erosion of time. America is an idea, not a “house.” And THAT is why there are over 100 Constitutional Republics across the world who have modeled their Constitutions and systems of government after ours. Dont like it? You’re free to stay, but hey....why stay in a place you hate, or has discontented you so much? You are FREE to leave, and pursue your own happiness.

Much food for thought and seeds of discussion. I read this book because I had previously read “The Warmth of Other Suns”, which gave me much to think about. “Caste” provides much food for thought, as well as seeds of discussion. I am a member of what Ms Wilkerson calls the dominant class, but I can relate to much of what is in this book. Having grown up in Chicago, and read both “Warmth of Others Suns” and Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, I realized how much we had in common but, because of caste, we’re prevented from learning from each other. I’m aware, too, that caste is still a big factor in American society. As I finish this book Governor Ron DeSantis is attempting to ban African American History in Florida high schools. That he would do that is a demonstration of the arrogance of the upper caste. I thank Isabel Wilkerson for writing this book and wish that every American would read it and ponder our common humanity.

Very Good. Many good points brought up that should be acknowledged, many that Republicans have often tried to cloud or “change the subject when brought up and they should also acknowledge instead of being so close-minded and deceptive.

Race Relations. CASTE is the most informative book on Race Relations in America that I have ever read. It illuminates how it was, is and should be.

Poor, poor uneducated and long-suffering reader. To: nomoreOprah, Josh Shefty, sam53parv, qedkant, Donner5, Reneeplays, Jackgoober1, Frank, Seth V, Bauer304, and ReaderGirl121787 So, Seth, and his inability to concentrate for the long-term only made it to page 24. Seth, Seth, that’s when it REALLY gets good and kicks into action the underlying need for white supremacy that you wonder you quit, Hon. To the rest of you, to consider this book a waste of time or unworthy, is a sign of deep-seeded lack of curiosity and willingness to go deeper. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by the likes of you. Kudos, however, for having bought it in the first place. Too bad (or not, ey?) that it hit so close to home.

Caste. Every white American should read this book, no matter how uncomfortable we may become. The author’s analogies and metaphors are right on target giving me many “aha” moments. I feel inspired to step up my anti-racist game, beyond ineffectual Facebook posts.

Reviving. Words can not explain how much this is a great and impactful read. I was as lost for words to sum this one up. The knowledge and facts were never ending

Amazing. Outstanding. An awakening. Opened my eyes to reality. A must read foe EVERYONE. Excellent.

Required reading. Everyone should read this book. Our world will be that much better if we did.

Harrowing. A must-read for America, especially those, like myself, in the dominant caste who have largely skated through life in blissful ignorance of the great sufferings of so many.

Accurate and superficial.. This book just adds to the list of those that corrupt Hegelian master slave dialectics and take it to an extreme. Accurately describes the caste systems and but Author’s diagnosis is incomplete and at best, superficial.

Caste. Very eloquently written however very misleading interpretation of the facts. Like so many others it’s just one individuals interpretation of reality. How sad our country has become with the ever increasing amount of falsehoods masked as fact coming from every medium.

A Triumph.. I feel like all the bits of understanding I was grasping at before have been sewn into a quilt. It’s global, it’s personal, it’s wrenching, it’s analytic. I’m a white male, and I’m baffled that the experience of reading such heavy subject matter can feel uplifting. If this isn’t the best thing I read in 2021, then I’m in for an amazing year.

ClaudiaM Medrano. Bendiciones

The most important book of 2020!. This truly should be required reading for every American. Thank you for helping us see that to which we’d been blind!

Amazing. An excellent read and amazing display of the uncomfortable truths about America.

Garbage,ridiculously bias and full of lies. I only really made it to page 24 and stopped because I could see this was going to be full of manipulation and lies of the left just like in the media. Oprah is a billionaire because she lives in America and had hear free choice to become one but yet she has been brainwashed it seems to even put this in her book club wow! DONT WASTE YOUR TIME

Great !!!. I’ve always felt that I was a “woke” individual but I learned so much from this book and the the mindset of those who do not share my belief. Unfortunately those who should read this, will not, but it touched me! Loved it!!

Explains in plain language. Many other works on this subject use heavy academic language. This books relates a clear, rational history of how racial hierarchy—and other hierarchies undermine us all.

The book reshapes my view of my country. The Caste opened my eyes to the flimsy and faulty justice in the documents of the very selective U.S. founding fathers. To read about the government-sanctioned atrocities of Africans in this country and to see plainly how the world has supported the hierarchy of white wins over all melanated makes me want to further expose the country and its flaws. As an African American, it also lifts in me a spirit to bond with others oppressed around the world - recognizing that caste is not only a real part of our history, but it is alive and thriving today. This book makes it easy to see how it works, why it exists and how it impacts our world.

Beautifully written. A compelling argument and fresh look at race in America. The rare work of informative non-fiction that is also beautifully written.

Change your world for the better. Highly triggering, difficult, dense and sometimes debilitating; and essential to your psychological, emotional and physical health as we move forward these next 50 years. Do yourself, and all those babies not conceived of yet, a favor, and read this book carefully and intentionally.

Articulate. The author articulates a racist system in a way that makes it easier to dismantle.

Caste. I recommend this book for everyone, but especially for those of us who were educated in segregated schools or for whatever reason have not studied African American history.

Wow, So that’s what I felt my whole life. Wow, so that’s what I’ve felt my whole life and didn’t understand why or how “it” got like it is today in the world, especially here - in the “good ol’ US of A.” I believe is has chaged my action towards and with others of my species - human-beings.

In awe.... There are no words... I am in awe of this insightful and beautifully written book. What an honor to exist in the same time and space as the author. Now let us all practice radical empathy and change the world, one person at a time.

CASTE. A most fascinating read. Biting in fact, and sensitive in description. I fear that the ones who may benefit the most from reading this book, may have no intention at all of ever picking it up.

Must Read for every American. Riveting, illuminating, sad yet hopeful

A keepsake!. Prolifically, liberating. Honest, educational, very necessary for the current climate. I’m grateful for this literary gift of important content. Thank You!

Caste. This book should be used as a tool to lead conversations in every aspect of American life for those willing to take a serious look at US. The layout of truth was at times, difficult for me to digest, and I consider myself to be aware and knowledgeable of the history of this country and it’s impact on my community and the way that the country continues to keep a hush on its past and how it manifest today. It is required reading for those who seek to be educated.

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Great read. Well written.

Worth Challenging Your Assumptions. This book will challenge many assumptions you might have about American society the impact of race and how people interact within that society. Definitely worth your time reading and thinking about the comparisons between the US and other societies with strongly striated organization (or caste). Imagine a world where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Now imagine taking some steps towards it.

History of America in one book!. I really loved this book it showcased the whole history of America in one book. At least the history they don’t want to teach (Black and White History).It was well researched and written. I had many “Aha” moments. It really opens your eyes to the hierarchy construct of race that still persist in American society and globally as well today. A caste was created with the new world and a justification to decide the human race based on skin color persist till today. I realized how the caste of Nazi Germany and the American slavery & Jim Crow laws were quite similar as well as with the Indian cast. In fact it was alarming to find that Nazi Germany was inspired by the South of USA Jim Crow laws of segregation. I believe this book is timeless and a must read for anyone interested to understand the dynamics of the society we live in today and the unspoken rules we found revolving around races and its hierarchy in America and the New World. I loved it! It opened my eyes! #antiracist #blacklivesmatter #humanhistory #blackhistory This is a masterpiece in the era we live in for Black Lives to Matter.

Wow.. Excellent read.

CASTE. This work has really opened my eyes up to what has really gone on and is still going on, in not just the USA and in my country Canada but all around the world. I am very grateful this book has been written and my hope is that millions around the world will read it and make a personal decision to be better human beings. I have already told many friends and family this is a must read and it is a life changing book. As you mentioned, when we do what is best for the collective we too benefit. Thank you Isabel Wilkerson for being inspired to write this book and having the courage to state the facts as they are. As Maya Angelou said, as we know better we do better. I believe self awareness and acceptance of our part in any interaction with others is the first step in changing behaviours that do not serve to promote the wellbeing of all humanity. The “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” creed is one we as human beings need to embrace wholeheartedly.

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Summary of Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

The Caste book written by Isabel Wilkerson was published on 04 August 2020, Tuesday in the Social Science category. A total of 2,398 readers of the book gave the book 4 points out of 5.

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