Caste (Oprah's Book Club‪)‬

The Origins of Our Discontents

    • 3.6 • 173 Ratings
    • $18.99
    • $18.99

Publisher Description

#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.

NAMED THE #1 NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People The Washington Post Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review O: The Oprah Magazine • NPR • BloombergChristian Science MonitorNew York Post • The New York Public Library • FortuneSmithsonian MagazineMarie Claire Town & Country SlateLibrary Journal Kirkus Reviews LibraryReads PopMatters

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • 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

“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 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.

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 American life today.

August 4
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House Canada

Customer Reviews

quadmux ,

Great read

Well written.

MaryJolie614 ,

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.

Whup63 ,

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.

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