Caste (Oprah's Book Club) - Isabel Wilkerson

Caste (Oprah's Book Club)

By Isabel Wilkerson

  • Release Date: 2020-08-04
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 3
From 110 Ratings

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OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • 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.
“An instant American classic.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“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 out-cast 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.


  • Justification for systemic racism

    By qedkant
    If you have been contaminated by critical race theory, you will love this anecdotal piece o crap.
  • Hogwash

    By Donner5
    Total hogwash that there are only 3 Castes in the world. What garbage.
  • Half Way Through....

    By DKCMC
    Have read the first 550 pages and I have a hard time putting the book down. I, too, have highlighted passages....words so important to the understanding and processing of such a well researched topic. I also find myself thinking of my own history....growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in the South and how perceptions of other races were never taught out loud but were quietly assimilated in the environment and without any voices to invite you to think differently. I can’t wait to finish this book so I can go back and read parts of it again.
  • Junk

    By Reneeplays
    Burn pile terrible
  • Clarifying

    By PL4evah
    “Caste is the bones. Race is the skin”. She writes. And In 388 pages she makes defines the breadth, depth and body of racism in ways that are undeniable to an open mind.
  • Caste

    By k1mber111
    So excited to read this book and really take in the lessons for our country. Don’t miss this one.
  • Most IMPORTANT Book of our time

    By Ethanandsimon
    Best read ever. The author is brilliant and delivers lighting bolt insights in every chapter. A couple of early bad reviews appear to be from people who haven’t read it but saw coverage on CNN or read a synopsis. These people are the ones who need to read this book the most. The author does a masterful job in explaining why we all have work to do when it comes to our own narratives around race. She gives compelling data and research, as well as real world examples of things our history books conveniently leave out. There’s a reason why this is being called the most important book of our time. And for the record, I have read it cover to cover and highlighted it beyond recognition. This book is going to be a catalyst for change if all of the naysayers just give it a chance.
  • Users all iPhone app

    By Maheyan
    Administration is my phone’s x
  • Caste

    By Jackgoober1
    A boring piece of crap. Don’t bother.
  • Incredible analysis

    By Katelyn462
    One of the best books I’ve read in the past year. Precise analysis conveyed through beautiful writing.