August 16, 2012
Wilkerson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "The Warmth of Other Suns."
"Caste and Class in a Southern Town" by John Dollard
An anthropologist's study of the infrastructure of caste in the American South, a region that is a political battleground most every presidential election. Written in the 1930s, Dollard's highly readable analysis gives insight into the origins of divisions that remain to this day.
"Hiroshima" by John Hersey
A searing and unsentimental depiction of the consequences of war on ordinary people during a singular moment in human history, the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
"The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin
From one of the most trenchant intellectuals the country has produced, a classic essay as revealing and true today as when it was published 50 years ago, on the enduring cost of injustice and inequality to individuals and the country and what it means to be an American.
"The Negro in Chicago" by the Chicago Commission on Race Relations
Perhaps the most comprehensive examination ever conducted of the collision of race and ethnicity in a northern American city and of the path to resolution.
"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman
An exploration in a single narrative of two major challenges of our time: immigration and healthcare. With grace and empathy, the author depicts the struggles of an immigrant family and American doctors as they clash over the care of a Hmong girl stricken with epilepsy, giving all of us insight into questions of culture and identity.