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Caste

The Origins of Our Discontents

by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste by Isabel  Wilkerson X
Caste by Isabel  Wilkerson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2020, 496 pages

    Paperback:
    Feb 14, 2023, 512 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Grace Graham-Taylor
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There are currently 3 reader reviews for Caste
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Power Reviewer
CarolT

Thought-provoking
Wilkerson's easy to read prose kept me reading, but the topic kept me up nights. Everything she says is true. So, when I wonder about a "lower caste" person's promotion, am I wondering because she really isn't as qualified as other candidates, or because she's lower caste? And what, exactly, can I do to improve things? Is just the fact that I stop to think enough?
PatCarole

Caste -- Important but too wordy
I finally finished Caste this morning -- 6 weeks after starting it. (This included a midway break during which I read Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell.) Caste is an important study of where the United States stands in 2020 with regard to race and how we got here. I loved the comparisons to India and the Third Reich which lent a perspective to the continuous racial divide existing in the U.S. Wilkerson's exquisite writing style is what allows the reader to persevere in reading this long book with too much repetition on a very tough subject. I am glad that I read Caste but I only enjoyed parts of it. I think the author could have made her point -- which is an important one -- with fewer words. Perhaps this would have given appeal to a wider audience.
Anna Rowe

Good-but not what I expected
I was a bit disappointed in this. After reading and admiring The Warmth of Other Suns a few years ago, I was really looking forward to this new book and thought the idea of looking at caste was an interesting approach with a broader scope than just focusing on race inequality. This is where the book failed for me. It was filled with dozens of examples, often one right after another, of blatant injustices that the author referred to as caste, but appeared to me as racial injustice. I think the examples are important but the whole book began to feel like a racial rant at some point. I was specifically looking for an explanation of how caste is different from, but equally as damaging as racial discrimination but the book really reduced itself to a book about race and the political implications of that. Now this is a worthy read for that alone, but it fell short of addressing the ideas I was interested in. I also thought the book was a bit of a structural mess. I didn't find that it progressed with any purpose toward a conclusion. I would still recommend it because it has a lot to offer, but unfortunately it didn't offer what I was looking for.
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