Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Signed Book)

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.
“[Caste] should be at the top of every American’s reading list.”—Chicago Tribune

“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.

Book Details
Isabel Wilkerson
Book Format:
Publication Date:
04 Aug 2020
  • B Corp
  • Black Owned
  • Gives Back
  • Veteran Owned
Continuing to be stunned by the relevance of Isabel Wilkerson's new book , CASTE. Two examples too close to me and my family: Page 188, paragraph 1, sentence 3: " The only Procedures that African Americans receive at higher rates than whites, Williams said, are shunts for renal disease, the removal of stomach tissue for ulcers, leg amputation, and removal of testicles."
Page 199, as I move on from a May to November encounter with blood-sucking-biting-dust-mites and biting-flying-cockroaches, : "A scapegoat,... is seen by definition as expendable. People can come to disregard the predicaments facing people deem beneath them, seeing their misfortunes as having no bearing on their own lives, seeing whatever is happening to them as, say, a black problem, rather than a human problem, unwittingly endangering everyone."

Caste is a ground-vaporizing seminal work that needs to be in EVERY K-12 CLASSROOM IN AMERICA, yesterday. We need to know our history in order to never repeat it. We also need to know the antecedents of American systemic racism in order to understand why and how change must occur. Caste is the most well-written and thoroughly documented attempt at fulfilling these two needs.
I lived as we all do in the csste system but I didn't know it. I am now ashamed of my heritage because the inherent bias that comes with it.
The book is timely and might need updating after the 2020 election as many of the conditions mentioned in this book broke the surface and floods the streets.
This book is a must read into the inner sanctum of the modern American Existence, and one of the most eye-opening books I've ever read on the structure of American society from a socio-economic perspective. The quality of writing is superb echoing "Eyes on the Prize" and "Means of Ascent" in its level of detail and true perspective.
Caste is the single best book on race in America that I have read. Wilkerson's insights are both eye-opening and disturbing. We have marginalized an entire group of citizenry and efforts to keep them down, both subtle and blatant, persist. One can come away from Caste disheartened by the entrenchment of race-based caste in America. Nonetheless, this is a must read if only to raise awareness of this toxic process. Highly recommended.
This book has been a real eye opener. It goes beyond just saying what is happening and talks about the why. Now I just want to learn more and more about the subject, the very sad situation of the caste system in the USA, where “all men are equal”.
Fascinating history and comparison which should be required reading
Isabel Wilkerson gives us a well researched and sometimes searing picture of race in the United States. Caste is a worthy successor to her previous book, "The warmth of Other Suns".
I highly recommend Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson. It provides the researched facts with accompanied language to understand the origin and continued caste/racist system in the United States of America.
Eye opening and gave a perspective not previous experienced
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