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Caste: The Lies That Divide Us: The International Bestseller Hardcover – 15 September 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 29,363 ratings

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From the Publisher

Caste: The Lies that Divide Us

With unflinching rigour and moral urgency, Isabel Wilkerson makes the game-changing case that beyond race, class or gender, our lives and societies are shaped by caste. That is, arbitrary but deeply-entrenched hierarchies, which are imposed by the dominant group in a culture as it seeks to maintain its own power. Caste systems divide and categorize populations in many ways, but they always work to maintain the status of the dominant group, and suppress those ‘below’ it.

Through her original research, Wilkerson reveals how our world has been shaped by the ‘unseen skeleton’ of caste – and how its arbitrary hierarchies still divide us today.

Product description


If you haven't read Caste yet, you absolutely must. -- Edward Enninful ― Vogue

Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough -- Barack Obama

Magnificent. Profound. Eye-opening. Sobering. Hopeful. -- Oprah Winfrey

Caste forced me to rethink how deeply embedded our unexamined preconceptions are -- Bill Clinton

Extraordinary ... an instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far ... It's a book that changes the weather inside a reader. -- Dwight Garner ― The New York Times

Such is Wilkerson's gift as a writer that she leaves you looking at the world differently. -- Afua Hirsch ― Vogue

Caste will spur readers to think and to feel in equal measure -- Kwame Anthony Appiah ― New York Times Book Review

Isabel Wilkerson's Caste is probably the most important piece of non-fiction published this year. -- Sarah Hughes ― i News

Surprising and arresting... Like a prayer for a country in pain, offering new directions through prophetic new language -- Bilal Qureshi ― Washington Post

A consummate storyteller ... Isabel Wilkerson has written important book that reminds us of a comradeship of interwoven histories.LA Review of Books

An expansive interrogation of racism, institutionalised inequality and injustice ... This is an American reckoning and so it should be. Wilkerson activates history in her pages, bringing all its horror and possibility to light. It is a painfully resonant book and could not have come at a more urgent time. -- Fatima Bhutto ― Guardian

Persuasive and unsettling ... The case Wilkerson puts forward is inspiring and hopeful ... caste can be dismantled, setting everyone free. -- Ashish Ghadiali ― Observer

Important and timely ... If repudiation of past assumptions is the first step towards healing, Wilkerson's book offers a powerful frame for this. It is essential reading for anybody who feels angry, guilty or threatened by the tangled issue of "race" in America today. -- Gillian Tett ― Financial Times

Searching, gorgeously crafted... Caste is a luminous read, bearing its own torch of righteous wrath in a diamond-hard prose that will be admired and studied by future generations. -- Hamilton Cain ― Star Tribune

A powerful, illuminating and heartfelt account of how hierarchy reproduces itself, as well as a call to action for the difficult work of undoing it. -- Kenneth W. Mack ― Washington Post

Magnificent . . . a trailblazing work on the birth of inequality . . . Caste offers a forward-facing vision. Bursting with insight and love, this book may well help save usO: The Oprah Magazine

Wilkerson's genius as a writer is her ability to tell you the big story of what happened, but to make that story matter by linking it to the lives of those who survived it ... What in the hands of another writer would feel like an abstraction attains, in her work, the vividness and emotional power of lived experience. -- Ezra Klein ― Vox

Haunting yet strangely consoling, in a world defined by its divides, Caste connects. It reveals the 'unseen skeleton' embedded in heinous acts of power but, in evocative prose that is full of poise, reminds us what's possible when people come together. I closed the book feeling enlightened and energised, ready to roll up my sleeves and get on with the good work. -- Johny Pitts

Propulsive ... Should be required reading for generations to come. -- Joshunda Sanders ― Boston Globe

A transformative new framework through which to understand identity and injustice. -- Justin Worland ― TIME

Wonderful ... Prepare to have your mind expanded, your heart break and your head slowly shake by Wilkerson's sublime combination of skilful, analytical dissection and raw, emotional testimony -- Allen Sleith ― Belfast Telegraph

Caste makes a convincing, often scorching case that caste was there at the birth of the nation, and we wrestle every day with that legacy. It upsets the already rickety national myth that anyone in the United States can be anything -albeit, without entirely abandoning that hope -- Christopher Borrelli ― Chicago Tribune

Vital, brilliant and necessary -- Kae Tempest

Destined to become a classic ... urgent, essential reading for all.Library Journal (starred review)

It should be at the top of every American's reading list.Chicago Tribune

This enthralling exposé deserves a wide and impassioned readershipPublishers Weekly (starred review)

This is a brilliant bookBooklist (starred review)

Wilkerson's book arrives at a key inflection point, an opening for us to imagine, and then create, a system that's better than the one we've inherited.Bloomberg

About the Author

Isabel Wilkerson is the author of the acclaimed bestsellers The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Her debut work won multiple awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. Cited as a best book of the year by thirty news organizations, Warmth was named to Time's list of the Ten Best Books of the Decade, and The New York Times's list of the Best Nonfiction of All Time. Her second book, Caste, was a No.1 bestseller and heralded in The New York Times as 'an instant American Classic.' It appeared on forty best of the year lists, more than any other work of nonfiction, and was honored by Time as the No.1 nonfiction book of the year. In choosing Caste for her Fall 2020 book club, Oprah Winfrey declared it 'the most important book I have ever selected.'

Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal for 'championing the stories of an unsung history.' She has taught at Princeton, Emory, and Boston Universities and has lectured at more than two hundred other colleges and universities across the United States and in Europe and Asia.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Allen Lane (15 September 2020); Penguin Random House
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 496 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0241486513
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0241486511
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 740 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.2 x 4.3 x 24 cm
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ United Kingdom
  • Importer ‏ : ‎ Penguin Random House
  • Packer ‏ : ‎ Penguin Random House
  • Generic Name ‏ : ‎ Book
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 29,363 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
29,363 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 20 August 2020
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Reviewed in India on 24 September 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on "Caste". Not only for Americans, for Indians too.
By Madan Jadhav on 24 September 2020
I got to know about this book through social media which invoked a curiosity of mine. So I Pre-ordered it. Contrary to the routine, the kindle edition price was also comparable to hardbound editiom. So reluctantly though, I ordered the hardbound one. The binding, paper quality and the font size, all are really worth of the price. About reading experience, I must say this book is at par. Right from the 1st line, this 400-odd pages book gets over you. The writer has written this book simply keeping the american sociology and psychology at prime focus. While doing this, she has compared it with the racism during Nazi Germany and Caste system in India. Though it is a non-fiction, the writer has intermittently narrated some real stories and experiences in such a manner that the reading never gets dull. From Indian perspective, whatever she has mentioned about Indian caste system, they are pure facts and not exaggeration as some of the users have said in their respective reviews here. That's all for now. I am going to write a detailed review on goodreads.
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75 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 23 August 2020
69 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 21 October 2020
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Reviewed in India on 19 August 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage thoughts, no facts...
By Pradeep Kumar on 19 August 2020
I have gone through a book by Prof. M V Nadkarni on Hinduism. Taking reference from it, the vary new book on Caste by Wilkerson is absolute lie and an atempt to come on sensationalist sizzling headline. Don't support such authors and buy this book, a request from an Indian 🙏
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43 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 13 August 2020
33 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 12 January 2021
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7 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 28 December 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

1.0 out of 5 stars political bias at it's best
Reviewed in the United States on 4 August 2020
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1,520 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tough Read for Some
Reviewed in the United States on 5 August 2020
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1,082 people found this helpful
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Sophistry
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 September 2020
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36 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 September 2020
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24 people found this helpful
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2.0 out of 5 stars Parochial, devoid of originality, pretentious and overstated. Misleading publisher's promotion
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 October 2020
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20 people found this helpful
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