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Caste

The Lies That Divide Us
Written by: Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 14 hrs and 26 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power - which groups have it and which do not.

Beyond race or class, our lives are defined by a powerful, unspoken system of divisions. In Caste, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson gives an astounding portrait of this hidden phenomenon. Linking America, India and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson reveals how our world has been shaped by caste - and how its rigid, arbitrary hierarchies still divide us today.

With clear-sighted rigour, Wilkerson unearths the eight pillars that connect caste systems across civilisations and demonstrates how our own era of intensifying conflict and upheaval has arisen as a consequence of caste. Weaving in stories of real people, she shows how its insidious undertow emerges every day, she documents its surprising health costs and she explores its effects on culture and politics. Finally, Wilkerson points forward to the ways we can - and must - move beyond its artificial divisions, towards our common humanity.

Beautifully written and deeply original, Caste is an eye-opening examination of what lies beneath the surface of ordinary lives. No one can afford to ignore the moral clarity of its insights or its urgent call for a freer, fairer world.

©2020 Isabel Wilkerson (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Caste

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  • gillian wright
  • 19-10-20

An important and necessary education

Every human being should read this book. The education it afforded me was heartbreaking and entirely necessary. As an Irish woman who had spent a few years in America, I could see and feel the inequality but I did not understand the complexity and depths of it. A change is well over due, maybe this book will be a catalyst.

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  • Sharlene Phillips
  • 14-10-20

Life changing

I loved every single peace of this book, its written in such a realistic yet assertive connotation. As a black female ftom central america I acknowledge the struggle my brothers ans sisters battle and I pray to God that we will find the way to overcome for our future generations.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-09-20

wow wow wow!

This book has helped me make sense of lingering stubborn racist sentiments in Post Apartheid South Africa , and constant sense of exclusion the native black people in this country still wrestle with. This book is highly recommended to the racist and excluded- all the same! Therein, lies the cause and cure. Selah...

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  • Kahlah
  • 14-09-20

Exquisite ... a must read book for all of humanity

Extremely powerful book. I learnt so much... it’s thought provoking and the many stories which Isabel Wilkerson uses are powerful and memorable.

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  • Natural Hair Weekly
  • 13-09-20

It was worth the pain of cognitive dissonance.

The book is thorough. It was a personally rewarding listen. This story was told through the lens of a black African American female who straddles many worlds of marginalization, privilege and power, bringing alive the concepts in a way that makes the book layered and worth reading multiple times. The book empowers, humiliates, angers and consoles as it takes us on a global journey that provides parallels and analogies that creates discomfort and a-ha moments. It provides a reference guide and framework for constructive debate and discussion. The book provides a call to action in order to empower people from different ‘castes’ to increase self awareness of the cultural codes of conduct that we are often unconsciously choosing to reinforce which is having a cataclysmic impact on the the way we all engage with the ‘mythology of power’ based on the illusion of our own superiority or inferiority which creates real consequences for the development of humanity. Many academics, cultural commentators and race experts have articulated the points in Isabel Wilkerson’s book before but her book provides a millennial language, full of references that make it relevant for a new generation whose behaviour is informed by history but now due to globalization and technology have the ability to access information to challenge a 400 year old system that is no longer sustainable and has become counterintuitive to human and economic development. The book provides food for thought and an invitation to radically redefine empathy. It is a book for all lives but especially those who have power and are ready to decide whether the history they create today by ignoring the past is the future they want their children to experience by reinforcing it. The book is not a panacea but its a perfect pandemic read, that may help us to calm the coming storm by taking the time we are inside our homes to take a look at what’s really going on inside our heads and challenge it. Thank you Isabel Wilkerson for going on this journey. You are appreciated.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-09-20

Excellent

Loved the book. I thought I already knew and understood, the issues and yet, I feel, for the first time that I better understand the race problem in America, and it's central role in American economic and social life.

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  • gbemi
  • 06-09-20

An amazing story well told

i couldn't stop listening. it should be required study for everyone concerned with the state of America and its citizens of African descent.

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  • Sarah Warugongo
  • 06-09-20

Phenomenal: A must read for Everyone!!!

Absolutely captures the origins of our discontent as a human species. I was able to journey through the lived experiences of each of the characters. My heart has been broken open to the injustices caste has accorded lower caste members. It’s my hope the upper caste members embrace radical empathy to change this inappropriate & unjust human discontent; as ‘A world without caste - would set Everyone free ’ - Isabelle WilKerson - You have done a phenomenal job to make this knowledge accessible- Thank you!

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  • Soulful j
  • 05-10-20

A must read.

A must read for all who want to give humanity its best chance. Get over yourself and get into the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jeannette Adames
  • 11-09-20

Enlightening read about why we are where we are.

This is an essential read. At times I gasped for air to absorb the extent to the systematic dehumanization of African American people. And, yet as the moral scaffolding of our nation chips away, the book shines a light at how factors interact to create the social conditions in which the souls of those who strive for superiority degrade to an unthinkable pit of the human condition. This book will make you reflect on how your interactions, verbal and nonverbal, speak to who you are and aspire for the world to be.

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  • ian
  • 09-09-20

a must read,

a must read, then share. vital in these unsettling times of caste and class stratification

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-08-20

Brilliant book that should be required reading

Being of Indian origin I am only too aware of Caste and the pernicious nature thereof. It was revelatory to have caste applied to the American condition. I was engrossed from beginning to end. Be prepared to be put through a gamut of emotions, ranging from aching sadness to visceral rage at the treatment of our African American brothers and sisters at the hands of the dominant caste (white people). Such treatment spans slavery, Jim Crow through to the present day. I sincerely hope that this book is made required reading in schools, colleges and Universities in the US. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A masterpiece. Thank you Isabel Wilkerson for your tour de force. In Solidarity.

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  • Nina Vodstrup Andersen
  • 24-10-20

A world without caste?

One of the absolutely most important and thought-provoking books of the decade. Astonishing breadth and depth.

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  • Jerome Dominic
  • 10-10-20

Throughly enjoyed..

Beautifully written and narrated.A powerful book that can shake a lot of presuppositions and teach us a lot..

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-09-20

Essential to one's education

The grim skeleton of the structural racism that haunts and frames modern American life is laid bare here. This book presents clearly the effect of the human impulse to create hierarchy and then to raise up that creation to quasi-religious status so that it may not be questioned or properly seen, understood and demolished. That American society should be held in a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that blinkers 'good people' to the cause of the malaise in their country, and simultaneously allows a moneyed elite to profiteer from the discord sown and cultivated between groups even as ALL are being sold an unattainable, unsustainable 'American Dream' is saddening beyond words. Wanting to persist with a child's faith in the fairytale of one's nation's history is a sign of immaturity: it's time to stop patronising so many people by not challenging this fantasy. It is my sincere hope that my fellow human beings on the far side of the Atlantic can rise to the hyperbole of the marketing of the USA as the 'land of the free'. Reading this book may just help some citizens to discover the 'matrix' and begin to find a way out of it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-09-20

Excellent Philosopher

Although the author is not a philosopher, she brings together the comparison of systems which in the words of Haille Selassie proclaims that 'Until the philosophy which hold one man superior than another there will be war' .In her evaluation of USA she is able to demonstrate how such a philosophy has enabled a caste system to remain in place thereby damaging both the culture and it's people. The anecdotes are riveting and illustrative of a well thought out tome. The

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  • Miss Tulip
  • 23-09-20

A compulsory read

Great book, often hard to swallow when reading what people are capable of doing to other fellow humans. And because of that everyone should read it and take note.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-20

Great book

Good insights and a point of view. Stories were in some cases heart breaking but necessary to hear so that one understands how the impact of slavery and racial hierarchies still have an impact today.

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  • Anu
  • 24-08-20

Disappointed by the clumsy presentation.

I was expecting a more scholarly presentation but I was disappointed to encounter practically no discussion of political economics or serious analysis of history or sociology. Instead one is greeted with essentially one big long opinion piece illustrated with emotive anecdotes instead of data with historical context. Wilkerson's similar brevity in the scholarly department is even more painfully obvious in her treatment of Nazism and (especially) Hinduism. I would have given an extra 2 stars for performance, but the narrator's slipping into a nasty sounding voice (for the purpose of caricaturing various quotations) just adds an irritating element. Trying to establish historical categorical trans-cultural similarities (ie, " 8 pillars of caste") requires serious (ie. "sociological") investigation of both history and culture. One cannot go in merely with good intentions and a bevy of anecdotes and expect to come out the other side with something convincing or meaninful. I doubt that anyone already remotely familiar with the malevolent side of American history will learn anything from this book. In other words, our currently fractured societies will continue to fracture. Perhaps the book would be better if she just focused on her opinions and the anecdotes from American history. However even then, that would only work if she could paint forward some progressive path (or opinion) to a more egalitarian society .... which, again, is not something offered with this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-10-20

Caste in society

Amazing audiobook which will shock the listener and provide an understanding of the meaning of caste Highly recommended

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  • Mary
  • 29-09-20

Very thought provoking

I love Isabels narration this book is so thought provoking, I went through so many emotions listening to this audiobook. Could not stop listening. Definitely one of the best books Ive listened to this year!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-09-20

An essential read.

The world, not just America, desperately needs this book. It should be taught in schools everywhere as essential reading. Profoundly wise. Brilliantly narrated.

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  • Michelle
  • 19-09-20

A must read for every person

This book is a marvel. Wonderfully written, well researched and extraordinarily powerful. Many of the chapters I felt an overwhelm of emotions. Anger, sadness, disgust, shame, horror and disbelief. I exclaims out loud many times “wtf”. It’s hard to listen to the behaviour being discussed and know that it has happened, and still happens, in a country touted as been “great”. Change is needed now. If these atrocities were in any other country the UN would be speaking out. It was a personal journey for me in understanding the privilege I was born into. At one point in the book I wanted to put it down and walk away from the emotional pain. Then I realised that is the definition of white privilege that I can walk away when others cannot. So I stayed in it and felt the pain. Boy. Read this book. That’s all I can say. Read the book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-08-20

Magnanimous !! Hard HITTING !! REAL

The most amazing book I've read this year. Isobel is a legend and opens ones eyes to the bigotry the world is made of. Along with pointing out the fractions in our society she also points to a way forward out and towards a more inclusive future. 5 stars all the way.

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  • Kawa Koliavu
  • 19-08-20

Powerful Read

Loved it! but found Racism and Castism as interchangeable terms so would've liked a bit more expansion on how these terms differ and the importance of being able to differentiate between the two.

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  • James
  • 18-08-20

See yourself and others from a clarified perspective

Sometimes a concept, often assumed to already be known or understood, is presented with such a level of clarity that it grants you a new way to see the world. That is Caste, through which you will be able to recognize the structures buttressing the social and economic expectations we have for each other, hiding in plain sight.