President Barack Obama awards journalist and author, Isabel Wilkerson, the 2015 National Humanities Medal during a 2016 ceremony at the White House. Wilkerson’s new book, her first since “The Warmth of Other Suns,” takes on what she is calling the country’s caste system. The years-long project is called “Caste” and comes out Aug. 20. (Associated Press)

President Barack Obama awards journalist and author, Isabel Wilkerson, the 2015 National Humanities Medal during a 2016 ceremony at the White House. Wilkerson’s new book, her first since “The Warmth of Other Suns,” takes on what she is calling the country’s caste system. The years-long project is called “Caste” and comes out Aug. 20. (Associated Press)

Books briefly: New Isabel Wilkerson book to come out in August

The author of “The Warmth of Our Suns” has a book about caste systems slated for release on Aug. 20.

  • By The Associated Press
  • Sunday, March 22, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

New Isabel Wilkerson book, ‘Caste,’ to come out in August

Isabel Wilkerson’s first book since her Pulitzer Prize winning “The Warmth of Other Suns” is a years-long project that will explore what she calls the “unseen skeleton” of hierarchy in American life.

Random House announced that Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” comes out Aug. 20. In the book, Wilkerson writes that “The human impulse to create hierarchies runs across societies and cultures” and “predates the idea of race.”

“Caste is the bones, race is the skin,” writes Wilkerson, in an excerpt provided by her publisher. “Race is what we can see, the physical traits that have been given arbitrary meaning and become shorthand for who a person is. Caste is the powerful infrastructure that holds each group in its place.”

Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” her acclaimed work on African American migration from the South in the 20th century, was published in 2010. The debut book won the Pulitzer and National Book Critics Circle Award, its admirers also including President Barack Obama, who presented Wilkerson with a National Humanities Medal in 2016 for “championing the stories of an unsung history.”

Alex Kotlowitz’s ‘American Summer’ wins book prize

Alex Kotlowitz’s “An American Summer,” an intimate chronicle of gun violence in Chicago, has won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. Kerri K. Greenidge’s “Black Radical,” a biography of civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter, received an award for history.

Both the Lukas prize and Mark Lynton History Prize come with $10,000, and were announced by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, which administer the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards.

The Lukas project also announced two winners of the work-in-progress, a $25,000 prize. The recipients are Bartow J. Elmore for “Seed Money: Monsanto’s Past and the Future of Food” and Shahan Mufti for “American Caliph: The True Story of the Hanafi Siege, America’s First Homegrown Islamic Terror Attack.”

The Lukas prizes, established in 1998, are named for the late author and investigative journalist and are given to nonfiction books that exemplify literary excellence and social consciousness. Past winners include Robert Caro, Jill Lepore and Andrew Solomon.

A May 5 awards ceremony has been postponed because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Author Rick Atkinson wins $50,000 history prize

Military historian Rick Atkinson has won a $50,000 prize for his first of three planned volumes on the Revolutionary War.

The New-York Historical Society announced that Atkinson had received the Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize for “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777.” Pam Schafler, chair of the society’s board of trustees, called the book “riveting, illuminating and wonderfully provocative.”

Atkinson is also known for his “Liberation Trilogy” on World War II. He won a Pulitzer Prize for the first volume, “An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943.”

Previous winners of the Zalaznick prize include Robert Caro, Jill Lepore and Ron Chernow.

Yusef Salaam working on novel about wrongful imprisonment

One of the former “Central Park Five” is teaming with an acclaimed children’s author on a young adult novel with a personal theme — being wrongfully sentenced to prison.

Yusef Salaam and author Ibi Zoboi are working together on “Punching the Air,” according to Bray + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books. The book comes out Sept. 1.

Salaam was among five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were coerced into confessing to a rape they didn’t commit in 1989. They were exonerated in 2002, but not before all had served prison time. They later received a multimillion-dollar settlement from New York City. Ken Burns made a documentary about them and Ava DuVernay directed a Netflix series.

“Punching the Air” tells of a gifted, but troublesome teen, Amal Shahid, who is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

“’Punching the Air’ reflects not only my story, but the stories of millions of young boys and girls of color who face the injustice of mass incarceration and the criminal justice system,” Salaam said in a statement. “Books have the power to change the way we think and transform societies. This novel is a continuation of my work to shine a light on the reality of our criminal justice system and inspire young people to advocate for change.”

Zoboi’s books include “Pride” and “American Street,” a National Book Award finalist in 2017 for young people’s literature. She and Salaam met while both were attending Hunter College in 1999.

— Herald news services

Talk to us

More in Life

Washington’s most beloved state park turns 100

Deception Pass State Park, which draws as many visitors as the best-known national parks in the U.S., celebrates a century of recreation and conservation

Hydrangea and rose
July checklist for Snohomish County gardeners

After a slow start to summer, things should take off this month. So keep planting and nurturing.

Caption: The 12 week Edmonds Community Police Academy was a free opportunity for private citizens to learn about law enforcement.
An inside look at how law enforcement works

A pregnant mother. A man who rescues abused horses and donkeys. A… Continue reading

Kid 'n Play members Christopher "Kid" Reid, left, and Christopher "Play" Martin perform on NBC's "Today" show during the "I Love The 90's" morning concert at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, April 29, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Relive the music of the 1990s with Kid N Play and other stars of the era at the Tulalip Casino Amphitheater.

So-called relaxing summer vacations can wear you out

To truly enjoy a family getaway, tone down your expectations. Everything won’t be picture-perfect.

Gimmelwald, built in an avalanche zone, yet specializing in alpine tranquility.
Roaming the Alps brings cultural insights along with the views

The Swiss have great respect for Alpine traditions and culture — and contempt for tourists who disrespect both.

Will TripMate cover costs for trip canceled for medical reasons?

After Stanley Wales cancels his diving trip to Bonaire, he files a travel insurance claim with TripMate. What’s taking them so long to respond?

Contestant chef Brian Madayag (left) of Edmonds and West Coast team captain Brooke Williamson on “Beachside Brawl.” (Food Network) 20220616
Edmonds chef reps Pacific Northwest on new Food Network show

Barkada owner Brian Madayaga will compete on a new Food Network series that premiers Sunday.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’ (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’

This Hinoki cypress is graceful and beautiful, and is very drought-tolerant once established.

Most Read