Review: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Cover for Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Title: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Author: Isabel Wilkerson

Narrator: Robin Miles

Length: 14 hours and 26 mins

5 stars – I loved it!

“Throughout human history, three caste systems have stood out. The tragically accelerated, chilling, and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. The lingering, millennia-long caste system of India. And the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the United States.”

This book was mind blowing. Isabel Wilkerson dives into the history of the caste system in America, India, and Nazi Germany in this book. She explores all eight pillars that underlie a caste system and brings in history, stories about real people, and her own experiences to show that the United States does have a caste system. 

“Caste is insidious and therefore powerful because it is not hatred, it is not necessarily personal. It is the worn grooves of comforting routines and unthinking expectations, patterns of a social order that have been in place for so long that it looks like the natural order of things.”

Like I said, this book was mind blowing. By the end of the first chapter I knew this book was going to change the way I looked at race, racism, and suppression. It seems so obvious now that America has a caste system, but until it was pointed out in this book it never dawned on me, which is sad because it is very obvious now. 

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was that Wilkerson discusses the caste system for multiple races. She doesn’t just focus only on African Americans in the caste system. She talks about Jewish, Indian, Native American, Muslim, and Mexican people and how they have been ranked in the caste system. 

“A world without caste would set everyone free.”

Overall, this was a world changing book. I highly recommend it, especially the audiobook because Robin Miles does a great job narrating.


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